The National Authorising Office (NAO) is pleased to announce that the European Union (EU) has approved disbursement of €20.9 million in budget support to the Government of Sierra Leone, based on a comprehensive assessment process which commended the Government for its commitment to macro-economic stability, increased tax revenues, strengthened fiscal stability and satisfactory performance under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme.
This disbursement is part of the State Building Contract programme for Sierra Leone financed under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF). The State Building Contract is designed to help Sierra Leone become more resilient. It requires steps to promote more transparency, reduce corruption, as well as improve governance and financial management.
In order to meet the criteria for budget support, the Government has to demonstrate that a national development strategy and a comprehensive Public Finance Management (PFM) reform programme are in place and being implemented; and that the Government’s macroeconomic policy remains stability oriented. In addition, there needs to be a satisfactory process for public access to budgetary information and oversight over public finances accompanied by a range of credible Government actions towards greater transparency and enhanced oversight.
The EU said: “Sierra Leone’s new overarching development policy, the mid-term National Development Plan (2019-2023) Education for Development provides a new operational framework with a strong focus on implementation and clear links with the SDGs.”
The overall budget of the State Building Contract programme amounts to €85 million and the next disbursement in 2020 will be linked to progress in arrears clearance, strengthened business climate, improved public investment framework and both tax administration and procurement. These include:
- Implementing the arrears clearance strategy, while maintaining sufficient resources for key social services
- Strengthening the public investment framework on the recommendations of the Public Investment Management Assessment carried out by the IMF and World Bank
- Monitoring of the performance under the ECF programme
- Implementation of the PFM Reform strategy with emphasis on tax administration and procurement systems
- Improvement of the business climate in order to increase the private sector’s role in sustaining economic growth, creating jobs and addressing infrastructure bottlenecks.
Dr Francis Kaikai, the Minister of Planning and Economic Development and National Authorising Officer said: “The EU is a leading partner in Sierra Leone’s economic recovery and ongoing development. Its continuing commitment to budget support is a clear indication of the EU’s confidence in the steps that the Government of Sierra Leone is taking towards ensuring long-term sustainable development through macro-economic stability, as well as more transparent and accountable public administration.”
The National Authorising Office (NAO) under the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MOPED) is the Contracting Authority for the 11th EDF with the mandate of facilitating the mobilisation, management and coordination of European Union Development Assistance to Sierra Leone, in accordance with the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States, and to ensure its effectiveness and alignment with national strategies as enshrined in the MTNDP 2019 – 2023