The Non- State Actor Secretariat in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development(MoFED), has on Tuesday 14th July 2015 held a one- day Regional and District NSA Focal Persons Information Sharing Platform on the call for Concept Notes Adverts at the District level, at 6th Floor Ministerial Building Conference Room.
The one day information sharing platform was sponsored by the Public Financial Management Improvement and Consolidation Project(PFMICP} through funds donated by Development partners notably World Bank, DFID & AFDB.
The objective of the one-day information sharing platform was to bring together Regional and District focal Persons across the country to discuss plans to serve as information focal points for the dissemination of the nationwide call for Concept Notes that will be launched by the NSA Secretariat.
According to Mr Amadu Sidi Bah, the Non State Actor Coordinator at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the aim also was to promote awareness of the inception of the Grant Award Phase of the NSA support programme, noting that the goal was to enable Regional & District Focal Points to play a more active role as key actors in the guidance framework in supporting district level NSA to access the Concept Note and other information support required for the effective participation of the NSA in the call for Concept Note.
He maintained that they should do something to help the Sierra Leone Government to promote Public Financial Management as they have started the Grant Phase, recalling that they started two years ago to give out some small amount of money just to enable the NSA Regional and District Focal person who have good ideas on how to promote PFM, reducing corruption on wastages in government, Local Councils, procurement , build active participation in Local Budget issues etc in order to be able to do so effectively.
The NSA Coordinator explained that the Grant will be given to the NSA Focal Persons with a great idea in a competitive basis which led to the initiation of the Grant Programme. He gave an update of certain things that occurred from last year to present date as according to him some District Coordinators have left, and others have stepped in, making it clear that during the information sharing platform they will deliberate on how they are going to revamp NSA activities at district level including the new things that the Secretariat will be expecting them to undertake.
Mr Sidi Bah made it clear that the Public Financial Management Improvement and Consolidation Project is a new project and that things have changed a bit in terms of Management, reporting , noting that the previous Project, the Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project (IPFMRP) was active in NSA activities and informed the NSA Regional and District Focal persons that the Previous Director of IPFMRP Mr Augustus Cole, has left for the United Kingdom on leave of absence noting that they worked with him for a very long time.
He informed them that the Call for Concept Notes has been advertised in Newspapers and have gone further to produce both soft and hard copies of the Adverts for distribution during the forum for Regional and District level in order to establish fair play so that those in the regions as well will benefit, and will help to educate them on what is expected of the Secretariat.
He encouraged them to ask questions for clarification in any area of the Concept Notes that is not clear to them and went on to introduce the new PFMICP Project Manager Mr George Lamin Vandi, to the Regional and District NSA Focal Persons.
In his Statement the Project Manager of the Public Financial Management Improvement and Consolidation Project (PFMICP) George Lamin Vandi, started by thanking the NSA Coordinator for his brief introduction, invitation to be part of the Meeting and for given him the opportunity to meet a cross section of the NSA Family.
He hoped that beyond the meeting they will have the opportunity to interface with each other. Mr Vandi went on say that the PFMICP is a successor of the previous Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project which has supported the NSA programs. He made it clear that support to PFM did not start with IPFMRP and went on to say that they started formal donor support on Public Financial Management( PFM) since 2004 with the Institutional Capacity Building Project .
The PFMICP Project Manager highlighted that before the Institutional Capacity Building Project there were other PFM support in the country, stating that bringing it to the donor corridor started over ten years ago which have actually witnessed the PFMICP succeeding the IPFMRP.
Mr George Lamin Vandi said :
“The Project Development Objective is to improve budget planning and credibility, Financial Control, Accountability and Oversight in Public Finances in Sierra Leone and Currently the NSA family falls under the Component that deals with Oversight. As you might know the objective of the NSA Component is to facilitate Oversight, promote transparency and accountability in the PFM Process.”
He pointed out that the NSA component have made a lot of effort in and out of the project ensuring that there is transparency and accountability not only in PFM Processes but in many processes that deals with Government Operations in Sierra Leone.
He said that he has no doubt that some of the NSA Focal Person have both national and International experience in dealing with PFM Issues. Mr Vandi reiterated that the Project have witnessed a slight Change in the Management Structure of the Project noting that the project is predicated on Change Management wherein a lot of things have changed in terms of what they have been doing in the previous project and what is expected in the new PFMICP project.
Mr Vandi further Stated that one of the major changes that occurred in the PFMICP is changing of the management structure, stating that in the Previous IPFMRP Project the Director of PFMRU was also the Project Manager or Project Coordinator of the project.
He said however, due to certain reason the Government found it necessary to separate the two because the same person running the project and at the same time also the National PFM programs will bring issues of time management, which according to him created some challenges during the previous project such as there was concentration of effort made in one direction and loss of effort in another direction. He said therefore the government thought it fit to separate the two.
He pointed out that there is now the Public Financial Management Reform Unit in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development concentrating on the wider PFM Issues in the country and specifically the PFMICP Project supporting PFM programmes within the Project having its own project Manager and its own Project Management Structure.
Mr George Lamin Vandi said:
“ We have two costing centre in the project, one is dealing with Audit Service Sierra Leone which the Project is Funding and the rest of it is being managed by the project. But the Project Manager still remain the Project Manager of the entire project and we are given a lot of support to Audit Service Sierra Leone. They are controlling their own cost center but the project management structure still remains under the project of which I am the project Manager”.
He stated that he will list a number of support they intend to give to the NSA component of the project which includes the following:
To Strengthening the National Secretariat as the Project is supporting the setting up of the office in terms of physical infrastructure and also in terms of personnel..
Mr George Lamin Vandi hoped that under the Project, will be established a Data base on all NSAs involve in PFM Issues and also stated that the Project will support the simplification of the citizens budget which has been completed. He also said his PMU is open to receive simplification of other PFM Documents apart from the Citizen’s budget noting that they are also open to support the provision of Grants which according to him will support the demand driven programs that will promote the social accountability in PFM Issues.
He reiterated that the drawing of the Grant Manual has been completed, the Grant Agent is also on board as they were effectiveness conditions for the project to be able to disburse the Grants to the NSA. He maintained that they are now ready to go for the implementation of the Grants program. He said there will be an evaluation of NSA for the Grant that will be given to them in the next two years.
The Regional and District NSA Coordinators gave an update about their activities and the Consultant Martha Davies made a presentation of the Grant Manual.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
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