Ban on night clubs, entertainment activities at gas stations

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Sierra Leone’s Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA), has levied a strict ban on all entertainment activities at all gas stations across the country.

A statement from the county’s Petroleum monitoring body noted that the ban include cinemas, night clubs, bars and ‘’other entertainment activities’’.

It continued that the agency has noted ‘’with serious concerns that some dealers are in the habit of operating’’ their gas stations together with cinemas, night clubs, bars within the same premises.

It further said, the habit of operating at least such a twin business is unlawful and has flouted the very laws which created the license being used to sell fuel.

The statement clearly noted that according to PRA Act, ‘’Part vii section 61(1) of the statutory instruments of 2016 states “No person shall sell petroleum by retail as a trader or dealer unless on a license issued by the Agency of that purpose”

However, the statement said although approved minimarts and tire services complement gas stations, yet, they pose serious health and safety risk, bearing in mind the ‘’flammable nature of the commodity. ‘’

“The Regulatory Agency considers the safe handling of petroleum products in the best interest of public safety throughout the product lifecycle.

Hence, gas station in contravention of the stipulated act is hereby prohibited and will not be licensed in 2022. This is also applicable to emerging gas stations. ,,

The statement concluded that for the purpose of standard practice; ‘’ affected dealers are hereby advised to visit the PRA headquarters to ascertain their environmental, Health and safety compliance status”. It said.

Sales of Valentine’s day gifts not allowed in schools

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The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) has banned the sales of souvenirs (memorabilia)on all schools environment across the country. A statement from MBSSE said.

The ministry noted that its key focus is ‘’to provide accessible and quality Education to all children of Sierra Leone and also acknowledge and appreciate the invaluable Partnership we have been enjoying with you and look forward to more collaboration.’’

According to the statement one hundred and seventy-seven (177) School Quality Assurance officers (one hundred and sixty are newly recruited) have been recruited by the ministry to supervise school activities across the country.

‘’Therefore these Officers have now been deployed to all sixteen districts of the country and have been visiting schools to ensure that classes are going on in earnest while also ensuring compliance with covid-19 regulations.’’

The ministry in the statement further said  “The feedback we have been receiving this week Indicates that as we approach the celebration of the Feast of St. Valentine, street Vendors have invaded school entrances and perimeters and are selling Valentine’s Day Regalia and merchandise.’’

It continued that ‘’while this activity has the potential of breaching the peace and tranquillity within the Schools, we believe that it also sends out the wrong signal, especially Pupils largely misconstrue the whole essence of the feast. We are very mindful of the Potential threat to our child protection obligations in school environments”.

The statement concluded by calling on Local Councils to help prevent street traders who sell these items around and within the school areas across the country.

Independent Procurement Review Panel Targets PEFA Indicators

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Staff of the IPRP & MOF at the External validation session on wellington street

By IPRP Communications Unit

The Independent Procurement Review Panel (IPRP) has on Tuesday 8th, February 2022 scored B from a Self – Assessment Report on Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA).

The assessment looked into Procurement Complaints Management for the period 2017 -2019.

The self -assessment viewed six indicators on Procurement Complaints Management of the IPRP and scored 4 out of 6 during the external validation. 

The external validation took place at the conference room of the IPRP on Wellington Street Freetown.

The validation session was witnessed by staff of Ministry of Finance(MoF) and the IPRP.

The IPRP is a creation of section 65 (1) of the National Public Procurement Act No. 10 of 2016. The IPRP is charged with the responsibility to review complaints from dissatisfied bidders about decision of procuring entity.

The Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) program provides a framework for assessing and reporting on the strengths and weaknesses of Public Finance Management (PFM) using quantitative indicators to measure performance.

Speaking during the external validation the team lead PEFA, Charles Hegbor said the PEFA framework includes a report that provides an overview of the PFM system and evidence – based measurement against 31 performance indicators.

He furthered that it provides an assessment of implications for overall system performance and desirable public financial management outcomes.

He said such platform aid governments achieve sustainable improvements in PFM practices by providing a means to measure and monitor performance against a set of indicators across range of vital public financial management institutions, systems, and processes.

Speaking during the session Chairman Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai thanked the team from MoF for assessing the IPRP on the various indicators, adding that the IPRP has made tremendous strides.

He said during the past era the IPRP had been rated D, adding that the institution was not fully constituted.  

 He appealed to the team from MoF to increase in budget allocation of the IPRP as previous fund was minimal in running the daily operations of the secretariat.

 ‘’ Our major constraint the Secretariat is without a website, generator in case of any power outage and vehicle for operations’’. He said

He said the role of the IPRP was very vital in the procurement cycle, and that government spends over 70 percent in procuring goods, works and services

Minister Kai-Kai engages Planning Officers

The Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai has encouraged both Senior and Planning Officers of the Ministry to continue strengthening their skills in providing the technical backstopping in preparation, implementation and review of the Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2019-2023.

He made this call during a meeting held with the officers to register his appreciation to them for their efforts, interact and also understand their challenges, since they form a core part of the Ministry’s operations.

In his brief statement, the Minister affirmed his commitment to continue supporting them in whatever way possible to see that the work of the Ministry moves forward. He encouraged them to continue developing their skills in areas such as development planning, monitoring and resource mobilization in order to promote growth for comprehensive and equitable national development.

“I want to use this opportunity to appreciate the work you have been doing in your respective departments, and also want to implore that you engage in lots of research work that would complement the work of the Ministry. I hope to continue these interactions to discuss issues with you more often and dispassionately”, said Dr. Kai-Kai.

The Minister called on them to further deepen their knowledge in understanding the clusters of the Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2019-2023.

Dr. Sheka Bangura, the Director of Planning, Policy and Research also thanked the Minister for his role in supporting every department at the Ministry, adding that the recruitment of the officers has been very helpful to his department.

He also called on the officers to continue engaging themselves in research work, planning processes, implementation and monitoring mechanisms that would promote sustainable and stable development of the country.

The Officers took turns to brief the Minister about their activities and enumerated their challenges while appealing to the Minister to ensure that these challenges are being met

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