Wednesday, 21st February at the Administrative Building in Parliament, the Director, National Authorising Office, Ambrose James and his team attended a parliamentary summon from the Oversight Committee on Planning and Economic Development. The Director spoke to the committee on how the NAO coordinates and facilitates the development cooperation between the Government of Sierra Leone and the European Union. He also discussed achievements, opportunities and challenges.

In his opening remarks, the chairperson of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Peter Yamba Koroma said he is impressed with the development activities facilitated and coordinated by the NAO. He said however, the reason the NAO management team was invited to face the committee was for them to have deeper and better understanding on how the NAO facilitates and coordinates the development cooperation between the Government of Sierra Leone and the European Union for the benefit of Sierra Leoneans.

Making his presentation, NAO Director Ambrose James explained how the NAO came into being through an agreement signed in Cotounou in 2000 between the European Union and 79 countries from Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific. He said the NAO supports the National Authorising Officer who is the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Madam Kenyeh Barlay with the coordination and supervision of projects financed by the European Union through the European Development Fund.

Ambrose James gave a summary of developing and ongoing European Union programmes in Sierra Leone funded under the 11th European Union Development Fund (EDF), which are Governance and Civil Society, Education, Agriculture and food security and key infrastructure  

As the 11th EDF is ending in 2025, Ambrose James informed Members of Parliament about the new development model between the European Union and ACP countries, which is called the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). This development model merges several former EU external financing instruments with the aim to support countries most in need to overcome long-term developmental challenges to contribute to achieving the international commitments and objectives that the Union has agreed to, in particular the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.

Ambrose James further explained how the European Union 2021-2027 Multi-annual Indicative Programme is aligned to the “Big Five Game Changers” of Government of Sierra Leone: Feed Sierra Leone, Human Capital Development, Youth Empowerment Scheme, Revamping the Public Service Architecture and Technology and Infrastructure.

Ambrose James ended by outlining NAO’s 2024 key deliverables, which he said, are the completion and formal commissioning of the 100km Bandajuma-Liberia Road and bridges Project, completion of 80% of the 14KM Makoloh Junction to Mabang Bridge Road, Completion of the National Comprehensive Soil Survey field exercise, analyses and launching of the report, completion of 95% of all 11th EDF ongoing Projects and continue to keep ineligible expenditures below  to 3% of the actual contract expenditures of the 11th EDF

The Head of Administration and Finance, Mrs. Esther Williams gave comprehensive details on how EU funds are managed and the stringent procedures on how those funds are accessed and managed by the NAO and grantees. She also responded adequately to questions related to bank statements and bank reconciliation for the Financial Year 2022-2023

NAO Deputy Director, Robert Ganda thanked the chairperson of the committee, Hon. Peter Yamba Koroma and his deputy Hon. Alusine Bash Kamara for their expertise

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