The Minister of Finance Dennis K. Vandi has urged all projects implementing units of various donor projects to be more effective in delivering these projects or face the exit door. He made this strong statement while delivering the keynote in the opening ceremony of a week-long Country Portfolio Performance Review at the Ministry’s main conference room.
The Country Portfolio Performance Review (CPPR) is a tool/framework used by donors and other relevant development partners to assess the performance of a country’s current portfolio. This assessment takes the form of direct discussions among key stakeholders; the country’s borrower representative (i.e., Ministry of Finance), the development partner, execution agencies (i.e., the MDAs), and the Project Implementation Units (PIUs). The event helps improve projects and programs implementation in the country and address inherent bottlenecks in implementation progress.
Dennis K. Vandi Furthered that, the importance of the review cannot be overemphasized. He however noted that his focus will be on projects staffs, charge with the responsibilities of implementing these projects to ensure efficiency in the discharge of their duties.
He noted that it is disheartened when efforts have been made to look for grants, seek loans and then put them in the hands of people to implement, they then find it difficult to execute them.
The Minister of Finance cautioned projects staff to curtail unnecessary delays in projects implementation and stated that he will embark on quarterly monitoring of all these projects to improve the performance rates for the benefit of the country.
The Principal Deputy Financial Secretary who doubles as the chairman of the Programme, Mathew Dingie, said that among other fiscal challenges, adhering to Procurement procedures had been a major challenge in implementing projects over the years, noting that the objective of the review is to assess the performance of donor funded projects and programmes in Sierra Leone, thereby identify challenges and come up with action plans to overcome the challenges.
He warned that COVID -19 should not be used as a tool or excused for the implementation of programmes/projects extension and that unnecessary delay of procurement procedure should be avoided.
“We have the responsibility to manage, implement these projects for the development of the Country” he added
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Country representative, Alima Ashim, stated that the joint review is to underline the challenges of the projects, understand the constraints, and proffer concrete implementation bound.
She added that the more successful projects are being executed the higher the ratings and will attract more funding, but said if more fundings are flagged it would be a low -ratings, noting that the project portfolio for Sierra Leone for 2021 flagged at satisfactory although she said that there are other challenges.
She highlighted some of the challenges with some of the projects ranging from irregular meetings of steering committee members, delay in the disbursement of funds, delays in terms of contractors, procurements delays, inconsistencies in quarterly progress reports, the commitment of the Finance Bill, etc. She thanks the Minister for his support towards the AfDB in the implementation of its projects.