Legal Adviser for the Decentralization Secretariat, Floyd Alex Davies has disclosed plans by the Secretariat to review the existing Local Government Act of 2004 so as to meet the demands for an effective decentralization process in the country.
Speaking at his Wellington Street office Floyd Alex Davies revealed that, there are a lot of inconsistencies existing in the Local Government Act, among them, the position of staff employed and assigned in the councils and the problem of who collects revenue from people at the ward and district levels.
He said “the secretariat is reviewing the act so as to enable us meet the demands of the decentralization process especially as we approach the next local councils’ and that, at the moment, “there is no national policy on decentralization” and this, he said should not be the case.
The Legal Expert further disclosed that, at the moment, there is a National Task Force on decentralization which will be reconstituted to oversee the preparation of the National Decentralization Policy and the review of the legislation to specifically identify areas and relevant provisions that conflict and may hamper the smooth implementation of the Local Government Act of 2004.
The Task Force on Decentralization, Mr Davies said, would be divided into three teams, one being responsible for the policy preparation, the other for the review of the act and the third team responsible for legislative review of laws that impact on the Local Government Act of 2004.
He also disclosed that, the National Task Force on Decentralization will be officially launched on Thursday, 24th April at the Kimbima Hotel, thus enabling it to commence work.
This, according to Floyd Alex Davies is a follow-up on a national consultation that was held two years ago by the Decentralization Secretariat when councils were rated based on their performance and also, problems facing the decentralization process identified.
Meanwhile, a document made available to this press indicates that, following the re-introduction of the local council elections to ensure that local communities and councils are empowered and fully involved in the development process, there have been a lot of achievements including: the strengthening of the development plans at the council level, financial decentralization and improvement in the financing of local development, and financial management and accountability.
However, “despite the achievements of the past three years, the decentralization process has been hampered by a lot of problems due mainly to the lack of a national decentralization policy and the inconsistency between the Local Government Act 2004 and other national laws”, the document states.
The Decentralization Secretariat, which is a component of the Institutional Reform and Capacity Building Project, is a directorate of the Local Government Ministry which finances the detailed design and implementation of the decentralization program of the Government of Sierra Leone.