By Aaron Bundu Lahai, Head of Media & Public Relations
The Honourable Vice President of Sierra Leone Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has disclosed the creation of Regional Growth Strategy by the Government of Sierra Leone. Vice President Jalloh disclosed that the creation of the Regional Growth Strategy is to ensure regions and districts in Sierra Leone become the hub for new investment, which is essential for local government and decentralization. He added that private sector development/investment is not going to be Freetown based. He explained that the Regional Growth Strategy will help diversify the economy, in order to unleash the potentials of local councils who are champions of social development, and for economic reason. Vice President Jalloh made the disclosure while addressing participants at the four days Staff Retreat organized by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development at Galliness Hotel in Bo, which started on Tuesday 9th March, 2021.
Vice President Jalloh informed participants about the completion of a Concept Note that will make Sierra Leone an Agro-Business Hub. The purpose of the Concept Note is to encourage investors to do business in the Agro-Business Sector in the provinces. “Government is therefore given more task cut/incentives to investors to do business in the provinces” Dr. Jalloh said. He added that the task incentives is meant to encourage investors to establish industries/companies to operate in the regions, and create jobs and pay taxes to local authorities.
Vice President Jalloh noted that the strategic focus of the New Direction Government on decentralization is along three axis: Effective and efficient decentralization, which means progressive devolution supported by the corporate reality of the councils; human capital development; and supporting the social sector.
Dr. Jalloh stated that President Bio’s Human Capital Development can only become successful with an effective decentralization. Vice President Jalloh stated that food security, maternal and child health care, and basic education are essential elements of Human Capital Development; but noted that Government cannot delivered on the three elements without an effective local governance.
Vice President Jalloh described local government as a method through which development can be delivered to Sierra Leoneans. Local government, Vice President Jalloh maintained can be vital to support post Covid-19 recovery, he added that such support should be done through sharing of ideas. The Programme was officially opened by the Vice President who doubles as Chairman of Inter-Ministerial Committee on Decentralization.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Tamba Lamina stated that the retreat on the theme: “Deepening Decentralization and Enhancing Service Delivery in Local Government” was meant to share experiences, assess challenges, and identify policies and interventions needed to strengthen local democratic accountability. He underscored the critical role play by local government to represent local community and ensuring access to local services. Minister Lamina stated that the retreat was an opportunity to truly entrench the role of democratic local governance into the political system, and gives local councils the means to deliver their full potentials as champions of local communities.
Dr. Pa Lamin Beyai, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative commended the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for holding such an event. Dr. Lamin stated that organizing such event demonstrates the importance attached to the role of local authorities in the development of the country. He highlighted peace, stability, and sustained development through the provision of basic services, and vital socio-economic infrastructure as some of the dividends that come with decentralisation.