4 July 2018

Sierra Leone: Bio-Meterigr Director Says Govt Scores High in the Economy

Executive Director of the Institute for Governance Reform (IGR) has noted that the new government of President Julius Maada Bio scored high in the economy through revenue mobilization, according to the Bio -Meter tracking.

Andrew Lavalie made the above claim yesterday during the launch of the Bio-Meter at the British Council Hall, Tower Hill in Freetown.

He said under the economic index, revenue generation increased from 6.5 billion Leones a day to 20 billion Leones a day, adding that government was able to enforce tax compliance and the Single Treasury Account.

"Despite the fact that there is global crisis and citizen's distrust and impatience in government and governance structures, the democracy of Sierra Leone is on a gradual development trajectory," he said.

The IGR boss further said the meter dealt with the economy, infrastructure, governance and human development with fourteen (14) indexes, adding that the Bio-meter gauged the promises of the president in his party's manifesto.

"Let me first of all say Sierra Leone is progressing. Years ago, hardly you see an institution or government to say come and sit and let's talk how we go. Even though we have our divisions and opinions, one thing that is clear is Sierra Leoneans want to change the status quo," Lavalie said.

Lavalie noted that government was doing well on debt management but poorly on exchange rate control in the country, stating that on sanitation, the Freetown municipality has become cleaner since the mayor of the city took over cleaning exercise.

He cautioned that in the area of education, government's drive should be based on quality rather quantity.

Manager of Sensi Tech Hub, Mohamed Hemoh, in his presentation on the Bio-meter content and product, said the initiative serves as a platform for citizens engagement to track the president's promises, adding that the tech hub, through funding from Catholic Agency for Oversees Development, Open Society for West Africa and IGR created the Sierra Leone Presimeter (Salonedecide.com) during the elections.

Hemoh said other countries in the sub-region have developed ways of tracking promises and that in Nigeria they have the 'Buhari-meter' and the 'Sall-meter' in Senegal.

Delivering his keynote address, Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Ambassador Mohamed Foday Yumkella, said the Presimeter project, as they have learnt, is an initiative to assist citizens to keep track of the promises made by aspirants during election campaigns.

"The Presimeter project, therefore, is in tandem with the general objective of the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs and its partners which is to promote an open government system that encourages citizens' involvement and engagement in the delivery of commitments by elected officials," he said.

The Political and Public Affairs Minister said the launch of the Bio-meter provides opportunity to engage in robust but frank discussions around issues being prioritised by government, adding that it is imperative that as partners they critically monitor and discuss issues and proffer concrete and objective solutions in a friendly and patriotic manner.

"Mr. Chairman, since the Presimeter/Bio-meter is an important governance initiative that is in line with one of my ministry's mandates of promoting good governance and democratic culture in Sierra Leone, I consider it imperative to collaborate and partner with the Institute of Governance and other key institutions and MDAs to implement the Bio-meter," declared the minister.

Also speaking, Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Raman Swarray, said as a government that inherited the worst economy in the country, the indicators in the Bio-meter so far are a good start for them.

On the issue of national cohesion raised in the Bio-meter, Minister Swarray said if any government was committed to national cohesion, it is President Julius Maada Bio's government.

He said the president has made a commitment to working with everybody as he sees everyone as Sierra Leonean, adding that their government was committed to depoliticising all sectors in the country regardless of political affiliation.

"This government has pledged to work in the interest of Sierra Leone," Minister Swarray said,adding that in the fight against corruption, the appointment of Francis Ben Kaifala was the first step towards minimising the scourge in the country.

"The president will fully disclose his assets after the review of the Anti -Corruption Act," he noted, urging outgone government officials to declare their assets to the ACC office in line with the laws of the country.

The Bio-meter launch was done in collaboration with Sensi Tech innovation Hub, the Institute for Governance Reform, CAFOD and the Government of Sierra Leone.

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