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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone, Vice President Launches National Decentralization Policy
By Mahawa Allieu (Intern)
Feb 14, 2011, 22:09
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The Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Samuel Sam Sumana, has, on the 9th February 2011, officially launched the National Decentralization Policy at the Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown.


Addressing government officials, civil society, local council authorities and development partners among others, the Vice President said the launching programme was a demonstration of governments commitment to the decentralization programme. He pointed out that the decentralization programme came into operation in the administrative system in 2004 based on the principle that there are certain functions of government that are better performed at local levels than from the centre. He said the government is bringing on board the National Decentralization Policy not as hindsight in the implementation, but as a forward planning strategic initiative to boost the success of the programme.


The National Decentralization Policy that is coming on board will fine-tune the operational system and address grey areas that have impinged on our progress in the functioning of the 19 local councils, he said. 


Given an overview of the decentralization policy, Alhassan Joseph Kanu, Director Decentralization Secretariat, said before the commencement of the decentralization programme in 2004, government had already articulated its position with respect to the direction Sierra Leones decentralization will take even though it was not expressed in a comprehensive policy document.


He stated that one of the key reasons for establishing the decentralization secretariat in 2004 was to support the government of Sierra Leone to further develop the decentralization policy as stated in its mandate. He said the national task force undertook extensive consultations with major stakeholders, adding that consultations were held at district, regional and national levels to engage key stakeholders at the local level including local Councils, traditional authorities, civil society and ordinary citizens to ensure that popular opinions of the citizens are reflected in the policy. He maintained that with the support of an international consultant and a local consultant the draft policy was prepared and submitted to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development for onward presentation to the inter Ministerial committee and cabinet for their approval, on the 29
th September 2010 without requiring any further amendment.


The Minister of Local Government and Rural development said the ministry held consultations with traditional rulers, local councils, civil society, community representative, MDAs and their development partners to enrich their knowledge of internal best practices whilst ensuring that the policy is right for Sierra Leone.


He stated that the policy is in harmony with His Excellencys Agenda for Change, adding that decentralization by devolution of responsibility is essential to promoting good governance and improving the livelihoods of all their people. Statements were made by development partners including the European Commission, DFID, UNDP, World Bank among others.


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