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Sierra Leone News: World Bank increases support to five existing projects by $230m

The Ministry of Finance has disclosed that the World Bank’s Regional Vice President, Hafez Ghanem has confirmed to the Minister Jacob Jusu Saffa that the Bank will approve US$230 million dollars against June 30th this year to scale up support to existing agreements.  He was quoted as saying that “the top management of the Bank are happy with the progress the Government has made in few months in governance and that they as a development financing institution, stand ready to support the reforms and actions taken to provide efficient and effective management of the economy” according to a release from the Ministry. The existing projects that will benefit from this support include SCADEP – $30 million, supplemental financing to Energy Utility Project – $50million to improve on Freetown T&D network, Social Safety Net for NACSA – $30.0 million, Urban Mobility Project – $50.0 million, and Free Quality Education Program – $70.0 million. It was also noted that the Bank has also made commitment towards providing another set of operations starting July this year, which is worth nearly US$400 million under IDA 19. Recently, the Bank disbursed US$40 million grant to Government as budget support, which is being described as the largest in economic management history. The $40million which was lodged into the Bank of Sierra Leone’s international reserve is expected to stimulate market confidence in the foreign exchange market. “The World Bank has also responded to President Julius Maada Bio’s request during his visit to scale up the 2019/2020 Budget support of at least US$100.0 million which will all be grant disbursement” the release added. The Minister of Finance Jacob Jusu Saffa expressed thanks and appreciation on behalf of the Government to the Bank and reiterated the government’s commitment to work with partners to change the narrative of Sierra Leone. Minister Saffa assured the Bank of a judicious use of the said monies as the New Direction believes in transparency and accountability and that all project resources will be monitored by close oversight by the Ministry of Finance.  Therefore, he emphasized the Government commits to strengthen the Integrated Project Fiduciary Unit so the resources of development partners’ can be reported and accounted in a manner consistent with international standards. The Minister is expected to serve as a panelist at a special seminar organized by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank at the ongoing Spring Meetings in Washington DC. According to the Ministry he is expected to speak on the topic: Driving Private Investment to a fragile Setting. How you can de-risk fragile environment, to attract private investments. Minister Saffa will be live to discuss the efforts Government is making to attract private investment in Sierra Leone.

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Thursday April 11, 2019.

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