From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

NOTICES & DOCUMENTS
Keynote address by President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma at Peer Review Mechanism Meeting
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Apr 18, 2013, 17:00

Courtesies, It is an honor for me to be with you today. The African Peer Review Mechanism is one of the flagship good governance programs that my Government is implementing, principally because of the opportunities it provides for the continued transformation of Sierra Leone. In September 2008, I launched the implementation of the APRM process in Sierra Leone and inaugurated a 23 member National Governing Council as an independent technically competent body. The inauguration of the council was followed by the establishment of a national APRM secretariat and the provision of budgetary support to the work of the council and secretariat. This support saw the successful and timely execution of the APRM national self-assessment process as well as the APRM Country Review Mission that visited Sierra Leone in May and June 2011.

My Government appreciates the efforts of the African Peer Review Panel of Eminent Persons (APR Panel) in producing the Country Review Report of the Republic of Sierra Leone (CRR) covering a wide range of governance issues. The report is timely and necessary in assessing the gains made by government and the challenges that we still face.


President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma

The Country Review Report of Sierra Leone was presented at the 16th African Peer Review Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 28th January 2012. I am proud to inform fellow Sierra Leoneans that, during the summit, Sierra Leone was highly commended for two reasons which I will now share with you. These are:

i. The bold step taken by the leadership of the Government of Sierra Leone in submitting Sierra Leone for peer review during an elections year. Most times, African leaders refrain from submitting their countries for review even when elections are far away for fear of critical views on their governance systems. My colleague heads of state reviewing our presentation considered our submission as a manifestation of selfless and unflinching commitment to promoting good governance, accountability and alternative political views.

ii. The response of the Government of Sierra Leone to the challenges outlined in the Country Review Report by developing an APRM National Programmer or Action (NPOA) which clearly articulated and costed priority actions needed to accelerate the effective delivery of development in the country. The implementation of the National Programme of Action requires a determined, unyielding and enlightened leadership at all levels of the Sierra Leonean society. The Forum was convinced that the required leadership exists in the present day Sierra Leone and will be employed both judiciously and effectively in the march towards resolving the constraints and challenges.

 

Let me now share with you some of the achievements that were commended for during the process, and for which Sierra Leone is a force to reckon with in terms of the distance we have come since the end of our brutal civil war in 2002. The strides for which we were commended include:

The Ward Committees set up in each Local Council Area, to mobilize residents for self-help and community development projects;

Strengthening of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in 2008 to investigate and prosecute corruption-related cases;

Reforms in the public procurement process;

Policy hearings conducted at the broad sectoral level as part of the development of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF);

The Memorandum of Understanding between the Sierra Leone Indigenous Business Association and the anti-Corruption Commission, allowing for consultation and collaboration in advocating for a business-friendly and corruption-free business environment; and

The key actions Sierra Leone has taken in promoting gender equity nationwide.

Our other key achievements include:

- Sierra Leone is relatively peaceful both within and without since the conflict ended in 2002 and has been instrumental in finding peaceful solutions to civil conflicts in the West African Sub- Region.

- The efforts that have been made to strengthen democratic institutions such as the National Electoral Commission, the Political Parties Registration Commission, the Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Democracy and others.

- Organization of free, fair and credible presidential, parliamentary and local councils elections in 2007 and 2012.

- Sierra Leone has received high marks from International Monitoring Groups for her governance as related to religious tolerance, upholding of freedom of the press and respect for human rights.

- Significant progress has been made in public financial management, coordination and policy formulation with a view to improving transparency, accountability and effectiveness in the use of public resources to promote sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

- The anti-Corruption has been empowered to investigate and prosecute practices.

- Due to business registration reforms and improving infrastructure; Sierra Leone is now one of the best and easiest place for doing business..

- The granting of mining concessions to several internationally renowned mining companies has a multiplier effect on increase in Sierra Leones GDP.

- Through the Agenda for Change (2008 2012) which is now graduating to Agenda for Prosperity, transformational economic growth and sustainable development is taking place in the key strategic sectors of energy, transport, infrastructure, agriculture, education and human development.

- There is significant progress in the implementation of the Free Health Care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five years of age etc.

Whilst these achievements undoubtedly present Sierra Leones level of performance in the journey to good governance, the Country Review Report presented Sierra Leones key challenges. We are committed to meeting these challenges head-on. We have already commenced the process. We are strengtheningthe capacity of parliament to do its oversight functions through the establishment of the Parliamentary Service Commission, we have established a separate Ministry of Youth and a National Youth Commission to promote youth employment and integration, which I have dedicated my second term to achieving. We launched the biggest infrastructural development drive in this countrys history and we are determined to continue along that path; and we will continue to fight corruption, and accelerate public service reforms. We have continued the reforms of local governance by enacting the Local Court Act, and we have appointed women to very senior positions in government including the Chief Justice, the Auditor General, solicitor general, the Commissioner General of the NRA, the Registrar General and a Brigadier General. We have also enacted the gender acts that promote and protect womens right. There has also been a steady decrease in Donor dependence for implementing development initiatives.

Many of our recent actions have also focused on meeting challenges relating to food security, education, electricity supply, and improving our resource base to locally support our development objectives. We are not there yet, but our commitment to good governance, infrastructural development and meeting challenges highlighted in the Review is unwavering.

We will meet the challenges, my second term is a dedication to meeting these remaining challenges, and we will prioritize the APRM National Programme of Action (NPoA) as we implement our Agenda for Prosperity. I am therefore calling on all NPOA implementing institutions and relevant stakeholders to embrace the APRM NPOA and effectively participate in its implementation.

I thank you all.



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