MCC Issues Statement on Sierra Leone’s Compact Program
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) announced on Wednesday that Sierra Leone’s eligibility for a compact is still under consideration until next month when the country’s fate is decided.
The MCC’s press and public affairs office in Washington issued a statement in response to an inquiry on premature published news reports alluding to Sierra Leone’s failure to meet the benchmarks to develop compact and Threshold Programs with MCC therefore causing a deferment of vital funding for the government.
The statement said: “MCC’s Board of Directors meets once a year to select eligible country partners for that fiscal year. The MCC Board of Directors selected Sierra Leone as eligible to develop a compact in December 2012. Sierra Leone and MCC are currently working on developing a compact; however, to continue this process past December, the Board will need to affirmatively re-select Sierra Leone when it meets in December 2013.”
The statement continued, “Countries’ performances on fiscal year 2014 scorecards, released November 6, will help inform the Board’s decision. Sierra Leone has been a strong partner in compact development so far. However, due to the negative change in its scorecard, MCC’s Board will review the overall policy environment in Sierra Leone regarding transparency and efforts to combat corruption. This review will help inform the Board’s decision about continued compact development. To that end, MCC and the Government of Sierra Leone remain engaged in an ongoing dialogue regarding the Government of Sierra Leone’s past, current, and future efforts to promote transparency and fight corruption.”
To meet the criteria for its assistance program, MCC requires a country must demonstrate a commitment to just and democratic governance, investments in its people and economic freedom as measured by different policy indicators according to its website.
The selection process is four-fold including: identify candidate countries, publish selection criteria and methodology for country selection and accept public comment, issue candidate country Scorecards and select countries eligible for MCC program assistance a November 6, 2013 press release disclosed.
MCC’s Fiscal Year 2014 Country Scorecard released on November 6 shows Sierra Leone passed in 11 out of 20 indicators.
The 11 areas include Inflation, Regulatory Quality, Trade Policy, Gender in the Economy, Access to Credit, Business Startup, Girls Primary Education Completion Rate, Political Rights, Civil Liberties, Freedom of Information and Rule of Law.
On the contrary, the country failed in Fiscal policy, Health Expenditures, Primary Education Expenditures, Natural Resources, Immunization Rates, Child health, Land Rights and Access, Government Effectiveness and Control of Corruption.
Mr. Alpha Kanu, Sierra Leone Minister of Information and Communications as well as Government Spokesperson did not respond to a request seeking comments or a statement for this article.
Meanwhile, it is not clear whether the recent passage of the Freedom of Information Act and signing into law by President Koroma was due to pressure for transparency on the government of Sierra Leone by the MCC.
By Dennis Kabatto
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