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Sierra Leone News: Merging of agencies and commissions will control waste – Hon. Gbappy Brima

With so many laws being enacted for the creation of commissions and committees, Hon. Gladys Gbappy Brima (SLPP), of Constituency 082 Moyamba, said that this country has to focus on controlling leakages and wastages by merging these agencies.
“A lot of them can be merged together and well-resourced to operate. There are some offices that we are aware of that have very few staff. It will interest you to know their rental spending, which runs to more than half a billion and when you look at their operational costs, they don’t have resources to operate.”
She gave examples of the offices of the Access to Information Secretariat, Health Service Commission among others. “We can control this by merging especially their activities that they undertake so that we will get better impact,” she said.
During the debate of the Appropriation Bill 2018, yesterday 2 November 2017, at the House of Parliament, she said that as Members of Parliament they tend to forget the reality as to why they are in Parliament, which is to give authority and act on behalf of the people. “Most times we forget that we are talking about the people’s resources. We should increase the debate as our people have lost interest; they have lost hope in what is being presented every year.”
She emphasised the need for sustained oversight as it is crucial to understand the achievements or challenges faced by MDAs. “But, we do not have enough resources to undertake that. You cannot give what you cannot monitor,” she said.
On the statement of economic and financial policies, she said that the narrative is very good but it is not translated into financial terms. “How are we expected to use the resource is quite different. In the introductory part, the Minister spoke about the mudslide as something that hindered our progress. In a way the Minister is not being honest with us as this happened in August,” she said.
Citizens have lost interest in paying their taxes because they want to see changes in their living condition. The bulk of the population that lives in the rural areas are living in poverty.
The local councils, she said, cannot even go to collect these taxes as they fear what they will tell the people. “So, if we cannot generate resources we cannot expand on the expenditure areas. I suggest creative ways by outsourcing some of these responsibilities in the collection of local tax that will go with education as to why they are paying.”
The tourist sector is an untapped area and needs rebranding and with proper marketing the country will not rely on iron ore. She said that those working in the tourism sector needs to be supported to cut down their production cost, which will reduce the pricing thereby encouraging tourist to visit more rather than going to Gambia.
“We need to improve on domestic tourism which will help in youth employment in arts and craft, thereby closing the gap on taxation.”
She concluded by urging the Ministry of Finance for timely disbursement of subvention to support girls education, as late disbursements she says undermines the quality of their education.   ZJ/2/11/17
By Zainab Joaque
Friday November 03, 2017.

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