The Director of the National Authorising Office (NAO) Ambrose James has told members of the Committee on Development and Economic Planning that “European Union is a dependable partner and they are here to stay”. He made the statement at Committee Room number one at parliament in response to a question posed by the chairman of the committee on what assurance he can give the committee that the EU will continue with their assistance cooperation with Sierra Leone after the end of the 11th European Development Fund at the end of 2020.
The NAO received a letter from the Committee on Development and Economic Planning requesting the Director and his key staff to appear before the committee to explain about NAO’s revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2018, 2019 and first quarter of 2020. The letter also requested the Director and his team to explain about NAO’s role and responsibilities in the country’s national development, and a status report for all EU funded projects since 2018 to date.
Explaining the reason for the invite, the Chairman of the committee Hon. Musa Fofana of Constituency 023 Kono district said they wanted to know more about NAO’s mandate and role in the National development agenda of the country since they have been seeing the Director of NAO Ambrose James in different districts together with the Minister of Planning and Economic Development explaining about EU funded projects and how those projects are factored into the Medium-Term National Development Plan.
After supplying the committee with a satisfactory dossier of all EU funded projects together with financial analyses, Ambrose James explained to members of the committee that the NAO came into being through the Cotonou agreement signed by Sierra Leone in 2000 which is the framework for EU’s relations with 79 countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. He said the NAO is under the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) and its activities are being supervised by Dr. Francis Kai Kai who is the National Authorising Officer. He said the role of the NAO is to facilitate the development cooperation between the Government of Sierra Leone and the European Union. He went further to explain that the NAO supports the National Authorising Officer with coordination and supervision of programmes and projects financed by the EU through the European Development Fund.
The Director, Ambrose James and his deputy Robert Ganda talked about the different focal sectors like Governance and Civil Society, Education, Agriculture and Infrastructure which are funded under the 11th European Development Fund that will soon expire at the end of 2020.
The meeting was also attended by Head of Admin/Finance, Mrs. Esther Williams and Andrew Tucker Head of Governance and Rural Development