Decentralization and devolution of Government activities are expected to provide an impetus to local economic growth, improve service delivery and promotion of democracy to enable the people to participate and contribute to decision making process directly affecting their lives.
According to the Local Government Act 2004 eighteen MDAs are to devolve functions to Local Councils. About 43 out of a total of 80 functions targeted for devolution are yet to be devolved and most MDAs have not formally devolved to the Local Council within the transition phases.
The failure to devolve Government activities has resulted to delay of Local Councils to take over service delivery responsibilities and that Central Government continues to perform functions that should have been transferred to Local Councils and the existence of conflicting laws, rules and regulations and procedures have compounded the situation
It has been revealed that officials in most MDAs are unproductive and disinterested in the whole exercise as they view devolution as a way of taking their jobs emanating from bureaucratic hurdles. Most MDAs do not also have a data base on inventory of assets and personnel and there are cases of reluctance to pass relevant information to Local Councils
As a result the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Internal Affairs Local Government and Rural Development in collaboration with Development Partners yesterday brought together various Government Ministries, Local Councils for a three day workshop to discuss progress and challenges facing the devolution of Government activities at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown.
The main objective of the forum workshop is to re-launch the entire devolution process with a view to fast track the stakeholders on the progress, challenges and map out steps in the decentralization programme by identifying functions that are yet to be devolved to councils.
Participants are also expected to discuss the proposed review of the statutory instrument to initiate the preparation of the devolution and collectively develop a framework for the rapid advancement of the devolution process while development partners are to share comparative International experiences to identify best practices during the three days workshop.
Chairman of the Civil Society Movement Festus Minah chaired the opening ceremony while Ambassador Dauda Kamara Minister of Internal Affairs, Local Government and Rural Development properly explained about the objective of the workshop and urged participants to contribute meaningfully on the way forward for the devolution of MDAs to Local Councils.
Representatives from the Finance Ministry, European Commission, UNDP and the Civil Society made statements of support to the devolution process; the Vice President Alhaji Sam Sumana delivered the key note address, and Herbert Williams on behalf of all the participating councils gave the vote of thanks.