The Executive Director of ActionAid International Sierra Leone last Thursday stated that it will be very difficult for Sierra Leone to move from its current status to an improved and standardized country if relevant questions are not asked to state authorities about how resources are utilized, especially in a country that continues to wallow in poverty and underdevelopment.
Mohamed Sillah was speaking during a day's interactive seminar organized by Africa Youth Coalition Against Hunger (AYCAH) in collaboration with and support from ActionAid International Sierra Leone on the responsibility of local councils and national government officials to the citizenry with the theme, "Improving public sector accountability, collaborative engagement between service providers and service users". The session was held at the Civil Service Training College in Freetown.
Sillah said lack of transparency and accountability on service delivery in the country is seriously responsible for the backwardness of Sierra Leone, adding that for far too long Sierra Leoneans have been very complacent with the slow pace of development. He further noted that it is now timely for people to speak out on issues responsible for the retrogression of Sierra Leone and to proffer solutions to some of the problems.
"Sierra Leoneans are reluctant to raise some of these burning issues because of their level of understanding about the responsibilities of government to the citizenry. Bringing duty-bearers to account for their activities is very close to the heart of us working at ActionAid," said Mr. Sillah."As an organization, we believe that marginalized people should have access to public services, including health education among others."
The ActionAid boss added that his organization gives enormous support to education so that people can know their rights and demand changes in society, and that such an important dialogue is needed at various levels of governance and managementstructures.
Chairman of the Assessment Committee in the Freetown City Councilor, Councilor Sheikh Lamin Dumbuya, said the seminar was key to the growth of their respective councils and the country as a whole. He said the importance of improving public sector accountability in Sierra Leone cannot be overemphasized, considering the fact that people expect a lot from councils but limited resources has always hampered most of the development projects in their various communities.
"We have commenced the construction of noticeboards at various communities; this is a strategy to inform our electorates about councils' activities and how our resources are being utilized," he said, adding that the experience sharing seminar will help them to solve some of the problems faced by their respective councils.