Helping President Koroma in finding ways to achieve his innovations
This article is a wake up call on President Ernest Koroma and his team not to be complacent and also helping them in finding ways in which he can fast track his strategies in order to bring the change he promised in 2007. President Koroma promised that he will shift the economy from donor dependence and run Sierra Leone as a business that will create engines of growth in all sectors. He promised to get the youths into job thereby reducing unemployment.
In trying to achieve this he had created the Office of the Diaspora, Office of Government Initiative, Attitudinal Behavioural Change Secretariat, Strategy and Policy Unit and many more. In the private sector we have noticed new investors and infrastructures put in place to attract further private investments.
However, the problem is getting trusted, experienced and qualified individuals that will understand the goals and objectives of these institutions. Some of these new institutions have not achieved anything since formation because the individuals that are acting as heads lack the skills that will enable them to turn strategy into action in order to fix the problems. He needs to complete these projects and there is high likelihood that he can win second term if he succeeds in his ambitious goals.
The first step is to reconcile the country and get them to believe that he will give job opportunities to every Sierra Leonean that has the potential to innovate or help him build up the government institutions, He needs a strong team that will be able to identify problems within the system and advice him on the way forward. He needs to be open to suggestions as to the removal of certain department heads and bring in new breed of leaders that are more youthful and creative in making progress toward becoming a more innovative country rather copying and pasting policies that will not impress voters come 2012.
The 50 years committee have decided to spend $25 million dollars on the Golden Jubilee celebrations. No news as to where this money will come from and what are the legacy expenditures. I see no problem in investing such money if it will be creative or on historical islands that will later attract tourists. The big question is why this money was not given to the respective Ministries in order for them to carry out such projects? However, investment on ferries to take tourists to historical islands like Bonthe etc. will create incentive to attract tourist into Sierra Leone. But spending $25 million on catering contracts or buying expensive cars, organising expensive parties or getting Morgan Heritage to perform in an empty stadium will be classified as failed priorities and be used as a silver bullet for 2012.
President Koroma needs a team of experts that will be able to implement the 2011 budget and these experts should be competent to identify weaknesses, as soon as they arise rather than through accident. These experts should be able to advice Ministries, Departments and Agencies. Sierra Leone needs experts that will be able to carry out research, analyse complaints from the public and develop strategies and policies capable of delivering public goods. Despite the publication of increase in tax revenue we are still experiencing tax collectors getting rich as the economy deteriorates.
In Britain David Chaytor an ex Labour MP is spending 18 months in jail for expenses fraud of £22,650 which is less than the amount stolen by some of our government officials. Recently NRA officials were arrested for stealing amounts close to what David Chaytor stole but nothing was done. This shows that we should start taking more stringent actions on officials that misuse tax payer’s funds in Sierra Leone.
By Dylan Sogie-Thomas United Kingdom
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