The Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Dr. Richard Conteh has disclosed his Ministry’s current plan to review the country’s PRSP document and to revise the NGO policy to rid the country of some dubious portfolio NGOs which had been operating in the country.
Talking to a battery of journalist at the Ministry of Information Conference hall yesterday, the Minister pointed out that most of the pledges made towards the development of the country by members of the donor communities are channeled through NGOs operating in the country but not much is felt.
He said the volumes of those resources or funds are not known to the government, also, there areas of operations or interventions are not specified, which he noted are responsible for some of the duplications of functions among NGO’s in our communities.
For the above reasons he noted, they have decided to review NGO’s policy to be able to coordinate and monitor their activities in the country.
Unlike the previous policy which limited the registration of both local and international NGOs’ for one year, he said their own proposed policy would be extended to two years so as to give them time to monitor the operations.
He added that the usual centralization of NGO registration in Freetown would be replaced with a decentralized form of registration so that NGOs operating in all regions of the country would do their registrations in their respective regions without coming to the Ministry in Freetown.
He disclosed that his ministry is responsible for the overall development planning of the government at both local and national levels.
10 years strategic national development plan he stated, has been done and taken up at cabinet level to determine where Sierra Leone would be in the next ten years, adding that within the ten year plan, there would be short and long term plans so as to review the plan after every 3 years.
With regard to the execution of micro finance he observed that during the past political system some politicians used it to push their selfish political intentions rather than using it to alleviate poverty, but stated that they have an over sight responsibility for micro finance in order to use it as a catalyst to improve on the lives of the poor people throughout the country.
He pointed out that, some 2 years back UN doled out over $30 million US Dollars, but only $16 million was accessed by them but when he took over he has been able to source an additional $17 million US Dollars.
He also spoke of the establishment of an independent radio station but did not indicate which institution would handle its day to day affairs.
This he said was in line with government’s intention to enhancing freedom of expression and of the press in Sierra Leone.
By Solomon Rogers