Twenty-two Sierra Leoneans and Liberians are currently undergoing a course on Fiscal Policy and Public Expenditure Management for post- conflict countries at the Kimbima Hotel, Aberdeen in Freetown.
The course is being conducted by the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) funded by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF).
Delivering his keynote address the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone and the chairman of the board of WAIFEM, James D Rogers, said “conflict has destructive effects on national economy particularly its institutions: property rights, regulatory institutions, institutions for macroeconomic stabilization, institutions for social insurance and institutions for conflict management”.
He added that fiscal institutions particularly suffered severe dislocations during conflict. “In a post conflict environment, government is faced with the enormous task of rebuilding fiscal institutions to meet the needs of reconstruction, rehabilitation, stabilization, growth and poverty reduction”.
The Bank Governor noted that, “fiscal policy is a mix of actions of government in revenue mobilization, spending and borrowing in the management of the economy”.
He added further that it aimed at influencing the decision matrix of economic operators of resources to the public and private sectors, with a view to promoting growth and development.
Mr Rogers maintained that many post conflict country have used fiscal policy to move economy at a pace and in the desired direction.
However, he said government programmes targeted largely at reconstruction and rehabilitation to facilitate economic recovery often posed macroeconomic challenges.
He pointed out that post conflict governments had to grapple with public expenditure and debt management to address fiscal imbalances and debt overhang in order to steer their economies along the path of growth and poverty reduction.
In his remarks the Director General of WAIFEM, Dr Osi Itsede, noted that the course was designed to upgrade the capacity for public sector financial and economic management.
He stated that, “the course is expected to upgrade the knowledge and skills of professional staff in charge of fiscal consolidation, financial management, policy analysis and poverty reduction functions in the two [Sierra Leone and Liberia] post conflict countries”.
Dr Itsede disclosed that a high level faculty had been put in place to facilitate this course.
He urged all participants to make the course interactive by feeling free to share their experiences with a view to finding common solutions to common problems.