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Sierra Leone News: Finance ministry to review NGO policy

MarahThe Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) unit in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) in collaboration with UNICEF has  continued the National consultative workshop on the review of 2009 Non- Governmental Organizations Policy Regulation at the District Council Hall, Sewa Road in Bo.
Delivering the keynote address on behalf of the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Eric Masallay, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at the NGO unit, stated that it is well over five years that the revised policy has been in operation, adding that naturally situations would have changed, resulting in some hiccups in the implementation of the guidelines for one reason or the other.
He said the ministry therefore saw the need for a stakeholder’s review to look into the various issues of concern to all parties, and urged frank discussions during the consultative workshop on the grey areas with a view to adequately addressing the weaknesses in the current policy, as it will be of immense benefit to the country.
The M&E Officer extended appreciation for the contributions made by NGOs in various parts of Sierra Leone through the provision of shelter, education, healthcare facilities, water and sanitation, training and other activities of sustenance in urban and rural areas, adding that government was committed to foster the smooth operations of NGOs without compromising the principles of accountability and transparency. He encouraged all development partners to adhere to these principles, especially in dealings with target beneficiaries.
He maintained that as partners in development, their prime goal is to reduce poverty. He said the Government, in collaboration with development partners is poised to rebuild the economy. It was therefore expedient to re-emphasise the need for partnership among NGOs, he added.
He stressed that the expectation of government is that instead of NGOs spreading out their activities, which limits visible impacts, they should concentrate on few lines of activities in a demarcated manner in order to create meaningful impact. Eric Masallay pointed out that in order to underscore the importance of NGOs and their activities in Sierra Leone’s economy, they have negotiated and agreed on the payment of residence and work permit for expatriates, making it clear that expatriates will now have to pay for residential and work permits, respectively. He said all expatriates are therefore urged to comply with the new arrangement.
In his statement, UNICEF Representative, William Banya thanked the various Technical Committees for the review of the 2009 NGO policy for enhancing a participatory review process amidst other priorities in the fight against the Ebola various disease. He commended the Government as well as the many NGOs for their relentless efforts to fight Ebola, adding that the Government had done a fantastic job.
He said the review of the 2009 NGO policy will further strengthen the coordination role of government in the different sectors and will further enhance the effectiveness of the Local Councils in their convening and coordination at sub -national level.
William Banya said the review will guide programmes and sectoral activities of NGOs  both national and international to ensure improved and sustainable coordination and monitoring of emergency-related and development interventions in the country. He explained that it is in support of this urgent need that UNICEF and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in collaboration with key MDAs and other stakeholders developed a strategic operational plan to review the policy. He further stated that technical working groups have been formed to ensure that regional consultations and thematic discussions happen in a consultative and participatory manner to promote ownership of the reviewed 2015 NGO Policy Regulations.
He noted that the partnership mapping tool is to effectively map the 3Ws  ‘who’ is doing ‘what’ and ‘where’ in order to improve planning and coordination of NGO activities by the provision of a comprehensive mapping and visual overview of the interventions and locations of all NGOs and CBOs that provide service throughout the country at the level of districts, chiefdoms, wards, sections and villages.
The National Coordinator of the Sierra Leone Association of Non- Governmental Organizations, Shellac Davies, thanked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Kaifala Marah for the development of the Mano River Union post Ebola Recovery Strategy and ensuring that the post Ebola Recovery Strategy is firmly anchored on the New Deal principles.
She added that Government, donor partners, civil society, and private sector are the main economic actors that contribute to political and socio-economic development of any nation, stating that each responds to development challenges in diverse but complementary ways, with different answers.
Shellac Davies further stated that Governments, ideally democratically elected, have the mandate to deliver public goods, services and democratic values and principles to people within the territory. She opined that donors are government bodies, usually guided by a poverty reduction mandate that provide official development assistance through various channels of cooperation to various development actors.
Earlier, the National NGO Coordinator in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Solomon Scott welcomed participants to the programme whilst Deputy Development Secretary in the ministry, Mori Momoh, chaired the opening ceremony and informed the participants about the purpose of the workshop.
Friday May 08, 2015

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