The provincial Secretary for the northern region, Abdul R. Dumbuya over the weekend told Awoko that despite his effort to meet the set goals and objectives of his office, he is faced with a number of problems and constraints that have almost rendered his office handicapped.
Speaking to Awoko at his office in Makeni , Abdul R. Dumbuya said, one major problem is that of electricity since his “office cannot boast of 24 hours of electricity and the President has put premium on electricity. There is also the problem with mobility. I am covering 5 regions and 53 chiefdoms in the north. The vehicle I’m using consumes more than what I earn a month”.
The Provincial Secretary also revealed that he is also getting problem with the timely allocation and disbursement of funds to run his office. “I am a sub-set of the Internal Affairs Ministry which directs and coordinates my affairs. When that ministry sneezes, I catch cold. Much as I initiate I have to go through the ministry”, he said and furthered that it is only his office in the 21st century that uses an imperial typewriter to dish out correspondence and information to the public.
“My office cannot boast of a land phone, no refrigerator not to talk of an air conditioner. Because of the absence of light don’t think of an access to email and this is where I envy my colleagues in Freetown who are Permanent Secretaries in government ministries. My office is also seriously constrained with the aspect of human resource”. Dumbuya also said, he is faced with human resource problem as the office is grossly understaffed. “The office only has three staffs, I, my deputy and an assistant secretary” but “inspite of all this I am managing to achieve my set goals and objectives”
Speaking on his Job description the Provincial Secretary north said, ‘My job entails quite a lot and whenever the president is in the north, be it Kambia, Port Loko, Tonkolili Bombali or be it Koinadugu, I’m his protocol. That tells you that the president will feel secured apart from the security provided by the police. He confers with me to know what the situation is like on the ground in terms of security, education, development and even agriculture and a broader spectrum in the northern region”.
Dumbuya also disclosed that the issue of the election of paramount chiefs falls on the provincial secretary and quite apart from that, the issue of settling land or bush disputes also falls on the provincial secretary. He added that the issue of coordinating all the ministries, departments and agencies also rest with the provincial secretary. “It also includes the recognition of the rights traditions and customs of the people in my area of responsibility”.
On the coordination of government ministries, departments and agencies, Abdul Rahman Dumbuya said, it has not been very easy in doing that but said, with the cooperation of my colleagues in the departments, agencies and ministries, we are trying. He said since he assumed office few years back, he has been trying to put the bits and pieces together and that most likely after the local council elections in July he will call a median meeting of all heads of ministries and agencies to look out for the way forward and the constraints they are facing.
He said, he has been able to meet on an individual basis the key ministries in my area of responsibility like education, agriculture and health. “I have met with the ministry of agriculture to put to their minds President Koroma’s dream for food for all by 2009. Mindful of the fact that, this is the home of the president we are trying in our own little ways by collaboration with the agriculture ministry and other line ministries to realize the vision of the president. We want the country to turn around from degradation to development”. He ended by calling on the government to look into his constraints and try to salvage them.