Gayle Martin, World Bank Country Manager was speaking at State House during the preliminary session of the first presidential Development Partnership Committee (DEPAC) meeting under the New Direction agenda of President Bio held yesterday 26th February, 2019 at State House.
She was speaking before a galaxy of DEPAC partners, heads of diplomatic missions, including the US Ambassador and other prominent personalities including government ministers, members of the Fourth Estate and other distinguished personalities.
She went on to say: “For any government, these challenges would be daunting and we commend particularly the Ministry of Finance for its continued leadership in taking important steps in restoring macro-economic stability such as elimination of fuel subsidies, reducing duty waivers and tax exemptions, and rolling out the Treasury Single Account (TSA). These measures have been instrumental in bringing additional revenues from MDAs into the budget while introducing stronger expenditure controls.”
She maintained however that while these measures have already reduced the fiscal space in the second half of 2018, the challenge is whether these gains can be sustained. She added that furthermore, “the successful re-engagement with the IMF and the approval of the Extended Credit Facility in November 2018 was an important signal to the global markets and the international community, allowing several development partners also to resume project support by helping those that hadn’t been sustained previously.”
She proudly stated that the World Bank therefore welcomes the government of Sierra Leone’s prioritization of human capital particularly education, adding that the government’s renewed efforts on human capital with support of the international community offers a unique opportunity to set the stage for sustainable changes in the lives of all Sierra Leoneans.
Also speaking at the august occasion was the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Sunil Saigal. He said among other things that he hoped that this meeting will be the first of many other constructive meetings and that the DEPAC becomes a forum for truthful engagement and true dialogue at the strategic level between the government and its partners around topical issues and with the spirit and objective of arriving at shared positions and agreed action.
Earlier, President Bio informed his audience that he looks forward to having very fruitful deliberations with DEPAC members and that he also hopes to enjoy mutual cooperation from all of the country’s development partners with the clear understanding that developing human capital is his primary objective; thus the main reason for his flagship Free Quality Education); which when achieved to its fullest potential, can fuel enormous growth in other sectors of the economy.
The outcome of the DEPAC meeting according to State House sources is expected to be publicized on a later date.