By Joseph S. Margai
Minister of the newly established Ministry of the Western Region, Nabeela Tunis, has stated that the Ministry was established by President Julius Maada Bio to close a critical gap in the national governance architecture, enhance service delivery in the Western Region, and bring the Presidency closer to the people.
Minister Tunis spoke exclusively in her State Avenue office at Tower Hill in Freetown.
The Western Region, which has two political districts, the Western Urban District and the Western Rural District, is a cosmopolitan melting pot that constitutes complex socioeconomic, political and demographic dynamics. Unraveling these dynamics and getting all stakeholders and actors to work together for the common good requires an entity that that possesses the technical expertise and political clout to bring people together to prioritize service delivery for all; hence the establishment of the Ministry of the Western Region by HE the President.
When asked to throw light on the Ministry’s gazetted mandate, Minister Tunis began by stating that the Ministry is unique in its own right and therefore the mandate was crafted to reflect that uniqueness. According to the Minister, the mandate ranges from coordinating development activities and actors to monitoring development programs and representing the President in the region as when necessary.
Minister Tunis conceded that she fully understands the public misconception about the establishment of the Ministry, which is due mainly to the lack of knowledge and understanding about the rationale for the establishment and relevance of such an entity for development. She however expressed strong belief in the rationality of the average Sierra Leoneans, stating “once they see from the gazetted mandate that the Ministry is not here to duplicate or take over any existing role, but seeks to work with every facet for coordinated development outcomes, everyone will come on board to support”.
She further disclosed that she had already begun engagements with critical stakeholders in the region with a view to mapping out logical development framework that will transform the region, breed cohesion and engender sustainable peace and development.
“The vision of the President is to bring sustainable development to Sierra Leone; this is achieved by creating and aligning institutions to plan and implement progressive policies in that regard. Accordingly, the Ministry of Western Region will work hard to ensure that socio-economic activities and the general development processes in the Western Region are not only brought into sharper focus by the central government, but are well-planned and coordinated to make certain that each and every inhabitant of the region, irrespective of their socio-economic background, age, physical condition, or political persuasion, share in the wealth and vast opportunities inherent in the region.
Minister Tunis, conceded that, like all other Ministries, the Ministry of Western Region is fraught with its own challenges. However, “these challenges are not insurmountable if everyone concerned put their differences aside and support the good work the Ministry has been set up to accomplish”