Parliament yesterday extended the mandate of the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSa’s) which was supposed to have ended this year, to 2018.
Giving the justification for the mandate of the activities of NACSA, the Presidential Affairs Minister said “the justification for the extension of NACSA’s mandate till 2018 is based on the fact that some current programs under implementation by NACSA will lapse up to December 2010. After the last parliament extended the NACSA Act which was to end in 2008, the UNHCR funded a rehabilitation and reconstruction program that will end in December 2009, which will be transformed into a local integration program for Liberian refugees who have interest in remaining in Sierra Leone. Also the German development Bank sponsored program will roll over to the end of 2010 while the pilot youth development employment program funded by the World Bank is expected to end in 2009″
Explaining the Bill, The National Commission for Social Action (amendment) ACT, 2008 to MPs, the Presidential and Public Affairs Minister, Alpha Kanu explained that the Lome’ peace Accord imposed certain obligations upon the government of Sierra Leone towards war victims which among other things established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and in particular recommended the rehabilitation of victims of human rights violence and also for the establishment of a special fund for war victims.
Mr Kanu stated that the Lome’ accord submitted in 2004, recommended that government should create the Act of NACSA which he further stated was to carry out the reparations program to establish a special fund for war victims and adequate resources to enhance the sustainability of it. “This was earmarked in a communiqué issued at the end of a two day stakeholders conference organized by the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone in partnership with other organizations in order to start the implementation of the TRC recommendations” he stated.
He explained that the government white paper on the TRC report in 2006, endorsed the recommendations of the TRC on war reparation while the Act clarified on September 8 2006 formally endorsed NACSA as the implementing agency. “in that regard a task force was set up to enable a viable institutional arrangement to be put in place and should develop proposals… and there are legal issues to be developed before NACSA should start implementation and these legal issues are, extension of NACSA’s mandate to 2018 which will enable it implement the reparation program plus all other projects to be implemented, amendment of the existing NACSA Act Of November 2001 particularly part three section 11 and 12 to include the maximum mandate to function and implement for war reparation and the management of a trust fund relating to war reparation and any other act coming” he stressed.
The mandate of NACSA, he continued was legitimate to which funding for reparation and the trust fund should be chanelled and all humanitarian organization under temporal reparation activity.
He also explained that NACSA was to be the recipient and manager of funds for social protection and disadvantaged families and to also mandate NACSA to source funding for and implement social development that complements the activities of local councils through capacity building at chiefdom councils.
Mr Kanu stated that there was already the commitment by NACSA as they have sent a proposal to the World Bank for pilot social protection on vulnerable groups to help them access social services that will reduce vulnerability.
He shared the proposed amendment to the bill to MPs to include “the amputees, war wounded, sexually assaulted, orphans, widows and any other war related victim”. Supporting the Bill, Hon Dr Bernadette Lahai of SLPP stated that the creation of the post conflict institution of NACSA was beneficial to the country and said NACSA was the best institution to handle reparation whilst Hon Suffian Kargbo of APC referred to it as a progressive one.
Chief Bai Kru Kanagbaro adjudged the performance of NACSA and its contractors as terrible citing corruption in the construction of NACSA buildings. He asked whether NACSA was given more time and powers to continue becoming corrupt.
The parliamentary committee chairman for NACSA Hon Legacy K. Sankoh of PMDC said all what was said about NACSA receiving tips for contracts have not been substantiated.
Hon Phillip Tondoneh of SLPP asked where the decentralization program will be and how NACSA will help the local councils in their 10 years.