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Sierra Leone News: Social Welfare Ministry received only 7% of budget allocation in 2017

The Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs, Hadji Kella, presented the Ministry’s budget at the 2019 Budget Hearings of the Ministry of Finance at the Bank Complex in Kingtom. He claimed they were “seriously underfunded and could not provide adequate support to vulnerable groups.” He said they are still unable to provide shelter for 1,500 flood victims. Disabled groups are not being cared for. Orphaned children lack support. The mentally handicapped are ignored. And, women and children continue to suffer. The Deputy Minister stressed, “Even though we are getting support from donor partners, it is not enough to look after the disabled, children and women as some of those funds are for specific purposes.” The Ministry requested Le35.2 billion to run their programs but, the Ministry of Finance has allowed a ceiling of Le15.4 billion for FY2019. In 2017, the Ministry was allocated Le4.6 billion but received only Le316 million or 7% of the government allocation, according to the Dep. Minister. “We have suffered a lot from low budgetary allocations and received funds very late,” he said. The Ministry has also been plagued by allegations of massive corruption, ineptitude and severe staff problems. The Deputy Minister said the policy direction, quality assurance, oversight and capacity strengthening relating to gender; child protection, disability and support to vulnerable households affected by disaster are core functions of the Ministry.  Hadji Kella pointed out that over 70% of the population in Sierra Leone are vulnerable, which creates the need for high standards of social welfare.

MJB/2/10/18

By Mohamed J. Bah

Wednesday October 03, 2018.

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