The World Bank has approved the Second Governance Reform and Growth Credit (GRGC-2) of US$10 million to the Government of Sierra Leone to help implement the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy in the context of a multi-donor budget support framework.
According to World Bank Communication Officer, Mohamed Sidie Sheriff, this is the second in a series of development policy lending by the World Bank in support of Sierra Leone’s transition from post-conflict recovery to sustainable development. Its assistance is designed to help in consolidating and deepening the agenda set out in First Governance Reform and Growth Credit (GRGC-2) by supporting measures to preserve the fiscal space needed for poverty reduction; promote efficiency, transparency and accountability in the use of public resources by strengthening the link between resource allocation and the objectives of growth and poverty reduction; pursuing procurement reforms; strengthening the institutional set-up for public sector reform and strengthening the implementation of decentralization; and improve the investment climate and promote exports by simplifying and reducing the cost of business regulations; advancing financial sector reforms; supporting better delivery of key infrastructural services, and improving the fiscal regime and services for mining activities.
The measures supported by the proposed GRGC-2 are expected to have a significant positive impact on poverty reduction.
By undertaking program actions aimed at preserving adequate fiscal space for poverty reduction programs, the government would be better positioned to deliver key public services even if revenues and grants fall short of targets.
The improvement in the investment climate supported by the proposed operation should help sustain the present high GDP growth rate and promote exports.
The strengthening of public financial management would enhance efficiency, transparency and accountability in public investments and service delivery. Such measures would also increase the country’s absorption capacity for external resources.
The approval of this credit, Sidie Sheriff added, comes against the background that Sierra Leone has made rapid progress on many fronts since the end of the war in January 2002 but that more is deemed necessary to raise per-capita incomes beyond peak pre-war levels and sharply reduce poverty.
Macroeconomic performance has been consistently strong, bringing rapid growth and steadily declining fiscal deficits.
By Solomon Rogers