FINANCE MINISTER HOSTS WORLD BANK EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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The World Bank substantive Executive Director for Africa group 1 constituency, Dr. Tafufila Nyamadzabo has on Monday 6th December 2021 in a courtesy visit to the Minister of Finance, Mr. David K. Vandi commits to the Bank’s continued support to the new direction Government.

Dr. Nyamadzabo who is on a three-day working visit in Sierra Leone thank the Government of Sierra Leone for the support in electing him into the office and that his visit is aimed at discussing fiduciary i21ssues and getting a proper understanding of the challenges of the Country.

The executive director highlighted his five (5) workable key objectives he hopes to achieve, which includes advocating for more resources, involvement of Private sector in more job creations, engagement with member state in implementing programmes/ projects, ensuring that Africans are well represented in the structures of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and capacity building to ensure nations are self-reliant.

In his statement, the Minister of Finance Dennis k. Vandi welcomes and congratulates the executive director on his new appointment. He thanked the World Bank for the disbursement of a 100-million-dollar budget in 2020 and the COVID-19 project grant of 16.5 million dollars.

He continued that the country is looking forward to further disbursement of budget support for the year 2021 of 75 million dollars, adding that the country is implementing several reforms and automation of its tax systems to increase domestic revenue generation.

The Minister of Finance further appraised his guest of the strides 0fr the Bio lead administration in the area of Human Capital development, the Free Quality education Programme, Health, Agriculture, financial management reforms, and the progress so far in the government effort to improve on transparency and accountability, and the fight against corruption. 

He thanked the World Bank board for the approval of the Free Quality Education project and seek for further support in the provision of teaching and learning materials on school while the government continues to pay school fees, exams, feeding, and transportation cost.

Minister Vandi explained the efforts of the government to improve its Country Policies and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) ratings to move from 3.1% in 2020 to a much higher rating to unlock the potential to access more funds to support the country’s budget.

In his response to the issues raised by the Minister, Dr. Tafufila Nyamadzabo commend the government on the FQE programme and assured him of the Bank’s support. He added that suspension of the Auditor General needs to be addressed to ensure transparency in the processes of the Auditor general’s report.

He advised that to attract more funds, the project implementation should be timely, procurement procedure, Efficiency in budget implementation and reduce bottle-necks.

He advised that priority be given to the suggestion and recommendations made during the recent portfolio review in addressing the challenges of delay in procurement procedures, faster disbursement of funds, improving the PFMU unit, timely approval of management decision and that advised that the resources provided should be utilized.

The executive director congratulated the Country on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and stressed the need to rollout more vaccines

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Pres. Xi Jing Ping Narrates His Tales of Life

As a small child, I was very selfish, always grabbing the best for myself.

Slowly, everyone left me and I had no friends. I didn’t think it was my fault and I criticized others.

But my father gave me 3 sentences to help me in life.

One day, my father cooked 2 bowls of noodles and put them on the table. One had an egg on top while the other bowl had none on top.

Then he asked me to choose a bowl of noodles.

Because eggs were hard to come by those days, I chose the bowl with egg!

I was congratulating myself on my wise choice/decision and decided to wallop the egg. To my surprise, I saw that my father’s bowl of noodles had two eggs at the bottom beneath the noodles!

With much regret, I scolded myself for being too hasty in my decision.

My father smiled and taught me to remember that what your eyes see may not be true.

He added that, If you make a habit of taking advantage of people, you will end up losing.

The next day, my father again cooked 2 bowls of noodles: one bowl with an egg on top and the other bowl with no egg on top.

Again, he asked to choose the bowl I wanted.

This time, I felt smarter so I chose the bowl without any egg on top.

Hmmmmmm to my surprise, there was not even a single egg at the bottom of the bowl!

Again, my father smiled and said to me, my child, you must not always rely on experiences because sometimes, life can cheat you or play tricks on you.

Never be too annoyed or sad, with situations, just treat experience as learning a lesson that cannot be gotten from any textbooks.

The third day, my father again cooked 2 bowls of noodles, one bowl with an egg on top and the other with no egg on top.

He asked me to choose the bowl I wanted.

But this time, I told my father, Dad, you choose first. You are the head of the family and you contribute the most to the family.

My father was very happy and he chose for me.

He chose the bowl with one egg on top. But as I ate my bowl of noodles, to my surprise, there were two eggs at the bottom of the bowl.

My father smiled at me with love in his eyes. He said, my child, you must remember that when you think for the good of others, good things will always naturally happen to you.

I always remember these 3 sentences of my father.

As we continue on the remaining journey of 2021, think for the good of others. Don’t be selfish, put others first and your joy will be completed.  Don’t run after post, position, wealth, fame etc. and bruise others to get it.

Local Content DG Highlights Successes & Challenges

The Director-General of the Sierra Leone Local Content Agency, Fodeba Daboh has been featured on the latest edition of the Africa Business Report Magazine.

He explains the vital role of the agency to achieving Sierra Leone’s ‘”Big Thing” as the country seeks to diversify its economy through the various sectors.

 Sierra Leone has remained largely traditional economy in which the majority of the population engages in subsistence agriculture, and direct government involvement in economic activity limits private sector development to a large extend, with their top exports being Iron Ore, Titanium Ore, Diamonds, Cocoa Beans and Aluminium Ore. Mr. Fodeba Daboh, Director – General of Sierra Leone Local Content Agency discusses the new direction of trade and business in Sierra Leone, especially as it regards promoting local content.

In what ways does the Sierra Leone Local Content Agency fulfil its mission of strengthening the domestic private sector and promoting a friendly investment climate?

As you may be aware our Local Content cuts across every sector of the Sierra Leone Economy therefore cannot over emphasize the significance of our work as an agency. Strengthening the domestic private sector is a key requirement among others in fulfilling our mandate as per the Local Content Agency Act 2016. The agency will increase engagement with the private sector to be committed to the development of local content related issues. The Industry Working Groups (IWG) which is designed to reflect industry issues and areas of concerns raised by the Private Sector. Each group has its own area of focus and, where relevant, work stream, and share insight that feed directly into the work of the Sierra Leone Local Content Agency. It also provides a forum for industries in Sierra Leone to explore and resolve issues associated with local content development.

The agency shall also setup the Sierra Leonean Content Consultative Forum which shall provide a platform for information sharing and collaboration in sectors covered by the Act.

How would you rate the patronage of made-in Sierra Leone goods & services?

The New Direction government with Local Content Agency taking the lead to promote Made-In-Sierra Leone goods and services across the country has made significant strides in establishing market linkages for indigenous producers of our Made in Sierra Leone products. On part of the goods, The Local Content Agency with supports from supervisory ministry, Ministry of Trade and Industry has also engaged major supermarkets and stores to apportion special shelves for the sale of local products. In spite of the fact that the proclamation made by government has benefited many local suppliers in terms of the market linkages, it has also been very challenging on the side of some local suppliers in terms of products standards and quality management, products shelf life, packaging and labelling. For services, local service providers have capacity issues both financial and skills which made them less competitive with foreign service providers. Provision of core services is substantially capital intensive, which may be beyond the reach of our local firms, as local firms may encounter difficulties in securing the appropriate guarantees and funding to execute project of a substantial size, most local firms are sub contracted.  

What are some of the important “ingredients” the Sierra Leone Local Content Agency looks out for before adopting and promoting content, goods, & services?

Some of the important ingredient the Agency looks out for before adopting and promoting content, goods and services are as follows:

Set standards cannot be compromised; as such no room for substandard goods and services.

For procurement purposes, must be able to deliver on time, quantity and quality.

Locals must have the required qualifications and requisite skills and capacity.

Quality standard management, packaging and labelling

Based on your experience with products and services in Sierra Leone, what sector of the economy would you say is “next big thing”?

The sector of the economy I would say is ‘next big thing’ which in fact speaks the new direction mantra of diversification of the economy is Agribusiness.

Before now, the Sierra Leone economy has been driven mainly by the mining industry. Currently, the New Direction agenda is to diversify the economy and majority of Sierra Leoneans are engage in agriculture producing variety of crops. If this sector is strengthens and develop, it has the potential to boom the economy because it will create more jobs, increase export and provide raw materials for our infant industries.  The agriculture industry is the largest industry in the country it can generates large cash receipts within the country. In addition, agriculture has a large economic multiplier effect, so it can contributes positively to other sectors of the economy.

What challenges do you consistently face in carrying out your job?

In Sierra Leone, local content cut across all sectors within the economy. Unlike other countries within the sub region which only focuses on the extractive sector (mining, oil& gas). There are enormous challenges in carrying out this job which includes the following:

Low skilled workforce to meet the employment targets of companies.

Inadequate Technical and Vocational, Education and Training (TVET) institutions, those that exist are not well equipped

The educational curriculum not align to the needs of the job markets this makes student that graduates from most of the TVET institutions have low standards and low relevance skills.

Procurement opportunities for local firms is also very challenging, most local firms lack capacity to deliver and it is difficult for them to compete with foreign firms.

Another key challenge in the implementation of the Local Content Agency Act is that Multi-National companies / investors do not operate fair and transparent procurement and employment policies to allow

Sierra Leone-owned firms and Sierra Leoneans to gain procurement contracts and employment

Managing the expectations from the indigenes in terms of job creation some of the indigenes take on Local Content is that the jobs are only meant for them residing within the operations locality and not for other sierra Leoneans in other part of the country.

What role can the government of Sierra Leone play to reduce/solve those challenges?

To reduce or solve these challenges, government should implement the following strategies:

With regards to TVET, government to establish special agency that will regulate and implement all TVET activities in the country

It is also recommended to apprenticeship programs that will take the form of employer based training.

Government and financial institutions to give priorities to local firms for loan with low interest rate

To build the capacity of local entrepreneurs to be able to deliver on what is required of them.

To engage and ensure that companies operate fair and transparent procurement and employment policies.

To capacitate and strengthen the Agency a lot more to fully implement the act and ensure compliance while the agency to continue to embark on public education of Local Content concept.

As Blackouts Hit All-Time High…

EDSA Urged to Refrain from Being ‘Mumu’

The rationale behind being quick to say something when there is a crisis is the need for the organization to tell its side of the story.  In reality, the organization’s side of the story would contain the key points management wants to convey about the crisis to its stakeholders.  When a crisis occurs, people want to know what happened.  If an information vacuum is created, the news media will lead the charge to fill the information vacuum and be a key source of initial crisis information.

If the organization having the crisis does not speak to the news media, other people will be happy to talk to the media.  These people may have inaccurate information or may try to use the crisis as an opportunity to attack the organization. 

Therefore EDSA and the Ministry of Energy should have a quick response now, position themselves as the most trusted source and begin to present their own side of the story.

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