By MFMR Media Unit
The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources on Tuesday, 29th June, 2021, received and held discussions with one of Sierra Leone’s high profile personalities in governance, Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa at Youyi building in Freetown.
The meeting which was held at the conference room of the Ministry, covered a wide range of issues, geared towards streamlining the ministry for effective and efficient service.
Addressing management and staff of the ministry, the Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa who also introduced members of his team, including experts from the ministry of Finance and Office of the President, said his function is more of a facilitator and enhancer, rather than a supervisor of Ministries. He said his role is to help MDAs deliver on their sector plans and Annual Work Programmes.
He disclosed that there will be a retreat that will map the way forward for implementation of the strategic program of the office of Chief Minister, pointing out that his outreach program to engage with all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) is to support service delivery through the assessment of specific program implementation benchmarks. He noted that the objective of his short visit to the MFMR was to diagnose the service delivery status of the Ministry, including challenges and key areas that require immediate intervention.
He intimated the meeting that during his tenure at the Ministry of Finance, he had paid special attention to the MFMR as a key revenue generation Ministry that required Government support to deliver. He cited a scenario where he should have decided to just sit down in the office of the President and invite few people to meetings, an option he considered not appropriate for service delivery motivation and enhancement for MDAs.
The Chief Minister reiterated the functions of his office, which includes the translation of the President policies into action, engagement with cabinet Ministers and helping to resolve service delivery bottlenecks where required. He noted that it was necessary to reach out so that he do not play a subordinate advisor role. He pledged his ministry’s desire to support MDAs to achieve their goals, in several respects of program planning and implementation.
He informed the meeting that that his office has developed a strategic plan as a conduit for service delivery enhancing framework for MDAs.
He called on the ministry to submit its policy, strategic plan and annual work program, which he said will be added into the Strategic Plan Monitoring Dashboard of the Office of Chief Minister, which can be updated by the Ministry and maintained by the Office of Chief Minister. He noted that a delivery chain for flagship projects of the Ministry must also be included into the dashboard which will soon be launched, including output areas which can be tracked by his office.
Explaining the importance of the dashboard, he stated that it will be an Automated Delivery Monitoring Platform, in the form of a digital module that will include cabinet conclusions, strategic plans, policy and annual work plan. The Chief Minister called for the development of a specific small-scale fisheries policy, with the aim to improve artisanal fisheries management and contribution to national revenue and food security base. He called for the introduction of Public Private Partnership approach during the implementation of the Fish HarbourProject, develop Artisanal Fisheries Policy, Strategy for export of fish and fishery products and Market Survey for Inter-district trade.
On the issue of limited budget allocation to the Ministry, the Chief Minister assured the ministry of his full support and promised to always be available to help as he was once a Minister of Finance and he is aware of the problems.
In her remarks, the Minister of Fisheries, Emma Kowa Jalloh thanked the Chief Minister for the visit and gave a brief overview of the various departments in her Ministry, which include, Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS) Unit,Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries Unit, Statistics, Research and Policy Unit, Competent Authority Unit for fish and fishery products, Marine Artisanal Fisheries Unit and Fish Quality Unit. The Minister noted steps taken to revitalize the fisheries sector including adoption and enforcement of policies and regulations, construction of fisheries infrastructure to enhance value addition. She spoke of a number of challenges facing the sector such as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, smuggling, limited budget allocation and bottlenecks surrounding the international fish certification process. The Minister, promised to cooperate with office of the Chief Minister assured him and his team that the they will work very hard to ensure that the ministry’s mandate is realized.
The Permanent Secretary, Elizabeth Ellie, Director of Fisheries Kadijatu Jalloh, Head of Marine Artisanal Unit, Victor Kargbo and Head of Statistics, Lahai Sesay, also made meaningful contributions during the discussions.
Various Actions Points were proffered during the meeting, including timeline for delivery of the Fish Harbour Complex and its Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) report, Fish Shortage in Local Markets, Operationalization of Fish Receiving Facilities at Outstations, reduction of price hike of fish products, increase Artisanal Fisheries Sector contribution to the National Economy, Enhance Monitoring Control and Surveillance System and Supply of Netting Materials for Sale to Artisanal Fishermen as well as Competent Authority Official Controls for Export of Fish and Fishery Products to Attract Foreign Exchange Earnings.