A member of the delegation of the European Union (E.U) in Sierra Leone, Tom Ashwanden has disclosed that 1.4 Billion Euros has been assigned for regional programmes in Sierra Leone.
Tom Ashwanden made this disclosure when their E.U Delegation paid a courtesy call on the Acting Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure Hon Abdul B. Barrie at his New England Office in Freetown.
He stated that through the Ministry of Finance, a Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.) has been signed in building the capacities and giving technical assistance to key Ministries that would help in the development of Sierra Leone.
Tom Ashwanden introduced the consultant, who has been hired to help the National Authorizing Officer to implement the European Development Fund 11(EDF 11), which spans from 2014 to 2020.
He further stated that the Finance Minister who is also the National Authorizing Officer for EU, has delegated some responsibility to the Acting Minister of Works, and the purpose of visit was to introduce the consultant hired by EU, to help the Minister
- streamline the system
- take more ownership in managing and controlling donor funds and contractors
Hence in a bid to build the capacity of Minister’s office, they shall be establishing a small unit in the Ministry to work on EU funds and subsequently required two focal persons nominated by the Minister. These persons shall be trained, to work with the new system, since it is very challenging. He stressed that the persons selected, should be available at all time to work with them with high level authority and technically capability.
He informed the Minister, that Sierra Leone succeeded in having a number of projects funded under the Regional Integration Programme and has the potential to benefit from the 1.4billion Euros envelope of fund available for projects, but this requires good quality projects to be submitted.
In his contribution, Arthur Carew of the National Authorizing Office mentioned that certain amount has been allocated to support the Ministries of Works, Agriculture and Education which will help them forge ahead in addressing the Agenda for Prosperity.
He said these Ministries after signing the M.O.U would fully take ownership of all the projects assigned to them through the E.U technical Team.
The consultant Gillanno stated some of his key tasks namely – to advice on the set-up, and to liaise between the delegation and the Minister and to help initiate activities.
He further said moving from a centralized to a decentralized system, has its own challenges, but system efficiency is needed to manage donor funds-in a bid to attract more funding.
Responding, Acting Works, Housing and Infrastructure Minister Abdul B. Barrie lauded the E.U for this timely gesture as the Ministry for the past years has been waiting for such opportunity.
He pointed out that the Ministry had already signed the M.O.U which is very fair for them and has been sent to the Ministry of Finance.
Mr. Barrie said that with the technical support he is optimistic that feasibility studies would be done in order to identify roads to be funded.
A joint Technical meeting with the consultant, the Ministry and SLRA was scheduled for Tuesday 21st April at the Sierra Leone Roads Authority.