Officials of Local Council Association of Sierra Leone (LoCASL) have on Wednesday, 20th March, converged in Kambia town to review their constitution and the endorsement of their strategic business plan.
LoCASL's President, Joseph Munda Bindi, who doubles as the Chairman of Bo District Council, stated that there were lots of emerging issues to be addressed, if they were to match up with international standards.
Chairman Bindi said the existing constitution has been without review for 11 years and that all the 22 local council officials were called upon to address emerging issues.
He told his members that they cannot go forward with their activities without a business plan.
"The business plan is very important because it speaks about the association's vision and mission," he said.
He said at the end of their meeting in Kambia, they would draft the constitution and the strategic plan,which would be endorsed at LoCASL's annual general meeting.
He advised all local council officials to perform very well in order to boost national development.
He disclosed that LoCASL has had an engagement with President Bio in which they put forwarded the plights of council staff, noting that one of the plights was poor conditions of service.
"Our current working environment and conditions of service are not plausible. We also raised the issue of some of the functions that were yet to be devolved to the council. But President Bio set up an inter-ministerial committee on decentralisation which was chaired by Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh. As I speak now, 95 percent of those functions have now been devolved," he said at the meeting.
Chairman Bindi said there were some functions that they do not need funds from central government to be implemented, citing building permit as one of such functions.
"There are people building in swamps and our environment is being degraded. If councils start to issue building permits, they would also be able to identify where people should construct houses and where they should not," he stated.
He disclosed that they were funded by the European Union (EU) with €370,000 to strengthen their capacity for the realisation of decentralisation in the country.
Sahr Moigua, Project Manager of the EU funded LoCASL project, who is also the Executive Secretary of LoCASL, said the review endorsement of strategic business plan workshop was an agreement between them and the EU to capacitate local councils.
He recalled President Bio's promise to strengthen decentralisation and ensure that it succeeds at all cost, noting that LoCASL has also vowed to work in line with the vision of the president so as to make decentralisation a great success in the coming years.
He said now that ministries have devolved some functions to local councils, LoCASL would now go to all its members and encourage them to work very hard to achieve the dreams of President Bio.
LoCASL's consultant for the strategic plan development, Osman Kamara, explained the proposed strategic development plan.
He said the plan was to help the councils see fundraising and effective programme implementation as tools for self-reliance and self-sustainability.
He added that it is a way that will ensure effective decentralisation process that lead to meaningful autonomy of all local councils.
"As a council, you are required to productively use your competences and qualities and try not to excessively use them. Productively using them will support your council's activities which will subsequently help you to control and adapt to changes," he told the council officials.