Dr. Doe (L) shaking hands with Hon. Tamba Lamina(R)
The newly appointed Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Tamba John Sylvanus Lamina has expressed thanks and appreciation to the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP for its continued assistance to the government and people of Sierra Leone.
Welcoming the U.N.D.P. Resident Representative in Sierra Leone and team during a courtesy call on him at his Youyi building office in Freetown, Mr. Lamina said the ministry and other stakeholders are putting place measures to review the Local Government Act with a view to harmonizing it with other statutory instruments so that there is “no conflict or grey areas whilst implementing them. He emphasized the need to promote the Decentralisation process and re-echoed government unwavering determination to take governance to the people, especially the ‘rural poor’.
‘‘We have realized for a while that people are still looking up to government for everything regarding their development—- We want to let them own up”, he told the visitors.
Dilating on the activities of his ministry, Mr. Lamina said his role is to make governance critical to development through the provision of prudent policies and disclosed plans to engage stakeholders with a view to sensitizing them on the need to review and harmonize laws, regulations and policies governing the sector. He said the Decentralization Secretariat under his ministry has set up a road map for the implementation of the programme and has solicited the support of development partners for its successful implementation. The minister described monitoring as a ‘crucial aspect’ in the management of the sector and informed the team of their desire to address Audit Reports through a robust control mechanism. Performance, he noted, is a critical issue, noting that rating depends on the delivery of people’s services. He explained that the ministry has used an array of instruments and approaches, aimed at motivating staff and monitoring capacity developments at local councils, including CLoGPAS. The Local Government Minister revealed plans to constitute a board that would address issues affecting the sector, including, capacity, transfers, salaries and other conditions of service. He also informed the team about the De-amalgamation process which created additional chiefdoms and districts in the country and expressed the urgent need for them to be critically empowered. He also commended FAMBUL TOK, a local Civil Society Organisation for partnering and complimenting the effort of government in promoting peace and rural development in the country.
Director of Decentraliusation Secretariat, Alex Bonapha thanked UNDP for it support to the ministry, especially in the area of capacity building. He underscored the need to amend the Local Government Act so as to address issues affecting the sector, especially those that have to do with revenue generation and empower them to use social accountability tools to monitor service delivery and development activities. He said they are currently implementing a pilot project for World Bank in four Local councils to ensure people have a say in their councils activities, adding that they are also implementing the Japanese Social Development Project in four councils which is expected to end next year.
Responding, the UNDP Resident Representative, Dr. Samuel Doe congratulated the minister on his new appointment and wished him well. Dr. Doe said they have made the ministry of Local Government their primary ministry and their own because the only way to fight poverty is to get people involved in their own development. The key principle of the Millennium Development Goals, he said is “to leave no one behind”, pointing out that his organization and the ministry has signed a Work Plan highlighting areas of intervention. He said they have put in place funds to address a number of critical areas including a review of the existing Local Government Act, assessment of the skills, gaps and structure of the local government, revenue generation and participation of women in local governance as a precursor to development. He stressed the need for cooperation to avoid duplication. “We need to move fast to address issues discussed in collaboration with other partners he added. Also at the meeting was the UNDP Focal Person in the ministry of Local Government, Edward Gbemeh, UNDP Governance Team Leader, Josephine Scott-Manga and staff of Dec-Sec.