The Executive Chairman of the National Planning Committee of the 50th Independence Anniversary Committee has stated that they have reduced the $25million dollars budget initially requested for the celebration of the country’s Golden Jubilee on April 27th this year to $ 8million dollars. Dr. William Konteh disclosed this new arrangement in an interview with Awoko Newspaper on Tuesday.
Explaining the reasons behind the reduction Dr Konteh said they budgeted for over $25 million dollars at the onset but they later reduced it to $12.5 million. Asked how the Committee eventually came to present $25million as the budget required for the celebration, Mr. Konteh said “After we had cut down on the cost we were still working on an agreeable budget when the Minister of Information and Communication presented the $25million to Cabinet and it was approved.”
Dr Konteh also pointed out that after several consultations with key stakeholders including the Vice President Chief Sam Sumana they have now slashed the amount from $25m to $8m because most of the projects they would be undertaking had already been implemented by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’S).
He added that “some road works are in progress in Lungi and we have also reduced significantly on some developmental plans, thus helping us to tailor down this cost.” He noted that the reduction did not mean that the celebration would be affected in anyway.
Mr. Konteh was quick to reveal that the government would not be providing all the $8m, it would be assisted by other donor partners and business organizations.
Mr. Konteh also stated that they had been seriously criticized by members of the public for the initial $25m requested for the celebration. He said some people believed that the money was too much and the country was not economically strong enough to provide such an amount.
Asked whether it was because of public pressure that the Planning Committee slashed $17milliom from the original $25M, Mr. Konteh reacted quickly saying “we are not moved by these criticisms because all we ever know is that the money is not too much for the types of developmental plans we have in mind. It is not only holding the event, but also it is about providing sustainable programmes and job opportunities for our youth population.”