8th-post-featured

Objective 1: public in tegrity improved vis - à - vis the promotion of more effective transparency and accountability measures for public officials

1) Develop and implement a Public Integrity Pact with 5 pilot MDAs that identifies key commitments in line with Section 8 -- Public Integrity -- of the ACC Act, 2008 to improve public trust in public service delivery and to ensure effective accountability of public officials.

Sierra Leone does not curre ntly have a public integrity policy , however, it is expec ted that a Public Integrity Policy will institute safeguard measures that will guarantee timely access to public services. There is a Code of Conduct for all public officials and other regulations, however, adherence and popularization leaves much to be desired which adversely affects corruption. It is expected that the development of the Pacts will promote ethical and proactive performance by public officials in the discharge of their duties especially in delivering key public services in an effort to improve accountability .

RELEVANCE – Accountability

Actions Required/Milestones for Completion:

  • Dissemination, administration and enforcement of existing integrity policies to improve public trust strengthened.
  • 5 pilot MDAs selected to sign an integrity pact with ACC on key commitments to reduce corruption in their Institutions.
  • Service charters for 20% MDAs (including 5 pilot MDs for integrity pacts) which clearly identifies the service provided, timeframe to e xpect service to be rendered and any associated costs developed and displayed with clearly visible complaints mechanisms identified when services are not rendered according to published procedures and timeframes.
  • Yearly assessment of integrity commitments undertaken for 5 pilot MDAs.

2) Pass a robust and proactive Archives and Records Management Act to support the implementation of the Right to Access Information Act in a bid to improve public transparency

The Archives and Records Management Bill has been drafted and several small scale consultations have already been had in collaboration with the Strategy and Policy Unit in the Office of the President. However, it has yet to be tabled by Cabinet or Parliame nt. Passing of the Archives and Records Management Bill will support the implementation of the Right to Access Information Act as it will serve as a key tool to informing database management and archiving of key Government documents that will be stored in formats that are accessible to the public vis - à - vis print and electronic mediums.

RELEVANCE – Transparency

Actions Required/Milestones for Completion:

  • Public consultations on the Archives and Records Management Bill undertaken.
  • Draft tabled in Cabinet by the Ministry of Information and Communication in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
  • Capacity and needs assessment in records management completed.
  • Bill submitted to Parliament by Ministry of Information and Communication.
  • Archives and Records Management Bill passed by Parliament.
  • Establish of an e - management

Objective 2: improved management of public resources through reducing opportunities for wastage, ensuring value for money and improved transparency in budget management

3) Scale up and deepen the activities of the Performance Management and Service Delivery Directorate to improve accountability and increase civic participation in governance issues.

The Performance Management and Service Delivery Directorate was established in 2013 in the Office of t he Chief of Staff to lead performance contracting of key public officials with in key service delivery institutions across Government. To date, performance contracts have been rolled out to over 80% of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, tertiary education institutions and Local Councils. The Performance Tracking Table are used to help institutions plan their activities against which they are assessed on a bi - yearly basis in a bid to ensure improved service delivery, however, dissemination of the assessments to the public has been poor which has undermined its objective of improving accountability. Improving on civic participation in the PMSD process will i ncrease accountability which is assumed will result in improved service delivery.

RELEVANCE – Accountability and Citizen Engagement

Actions Required/Milestones for Completion:

  • All assessments of MDAs covered by PMSD published in a yearly volume to be made available to the public in print and online mediums.
  • 9 pilot MDAs for implementation selected.
  • Ensure that in the planning and budget cycle for an initial 9 piloted MDAs; y early activity plans are prepared in conjunction with procurement plans which will be the basis of budgets submitted for consideration to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. The planning cycle and fiscal cycle must be synchronized to ensure t hat the activity based budget by MOFED is in fact informed by proper planning vis - à - vis a robust activity and procurement plan which should inform budget preparation.
  • Town Hall meeting held not more than 2 months after publication to engage the public (1 00 members - citizens and Civil Society Organizations) on the findings by the Performance Management and Service Delivery Directorate through H.E public the bi - yearly assessment of the performance contracts.

4) Increase compliance with audit measures to im prove transparency and accountability in public resource spending

The Audit Service Sierra Leone is the key institutions that have championed the fight against reducing public wastage and promoting value for money across Government. However, there are still opportunities t o strengthen the work of this key institution in an effort to ensure more efficacious and transparen t use of public resources.

RELEVANCE – Transparency and Accountability

Actions Required/Milestones for Completion:

  • White Paper prepared by the Executive that addresses key mechanisms and actions that Government intends to take to implement the recommendations of the 2012 Audit report with the view of reviewing recommendations as more information is made available in the 2013 Audi t Report which will be published during the implementation period of this action plan.
  • Policy paper to advice Constitutional Review Committee on placing limitations on length of time the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee has to review and publish th e audit report. This policy paper will be prepared by Open Government Partnership Sierra Leone National Steering Committee.
  • At least 50% of the published Audit Report recommendations implemented by relevant MDAs and these actions made public during the an nual performance contracting assessment process.

5) Establish a Single Treasury Account to improve financial accountability

It is evident that reducing wastages in the management of public resources is partially dependent on fiscal discipline and the leveraging of the extractive industry especially through the promotion of transparent practices in contract negotiation and manag ement. The aim is to leverage on key actions that the Government has already identified as essential to improving fiscal and extractive industries transparency with a view towards better management of public resources such as the establishment of the Sing le Treasury Account which was highlighted in the 2014 Budget presentation by the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Its establishment will streamline Government fiscal procedures and create more transparency and accountability in Government spending.

RELEVANCE – Accountability and Technology/Innovation

Actions Required/Milestones for Completion:

  • Single Treasury Account established by undertaking a census of all Government Bank accounts and findings made public.
  • Procedures and me chanisms implemented by The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in collaboration with relevant institution will run a Single Treasury Account which will form the basis of a new Memorandum of Understanding with relevant Banks on the modus operandi of Government transaction based on a Single Treasury Account Model.

6) Enact a Revenue Management Bill to promote transparency and accountability in the granting of tax incentives

The R evenue Management Bill is an Act that is required to regulate the management of revenue especially with reference to the granting of tax incentives . Implementing the draft Revenue Management Bill is crucial in that it would require the government to publish a statement of its tax expenditure, detailing all tax exemptions , the beneficiaries and the revenue foregone in a bid to promote transparency . It will also require producing and publishing a cost benefit analysis on the need to gr ant tax incentive on annual basi s hence the public will be well inform on the rationale f or granting tax incentives w hich may engender public debate and foster accountability and reduce the discretionary powers of Government officials .Thi s Bill was meant to be effected from 2011, but progress towards enacting it has been very slow and the effe ct can be seen in the extensive tax exemptions granted to Companies which are resulting in a significant loss of Government revenue.

Actions Required/Milestones for Completion:

  • Public consultations held on the Bill and revised accordingly.
  • Bill tabled in Cabinet by Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
  • Bill tabled in Parliament.
  • Bill passed by Parliament and enacted.

7) Scaling up extractive industry transparency initiatives

n the area of transparency in the extractive industries, Sierra Leone has been a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative since 2008, and although it was suspended in 2012, she just recently became EITI - compliant. It is currently worki ng on passing the EITI bill which has already been developed to improve efforts towards transparency and to ensure Sierra Leone’s compliance. The non - disclosure of mining contracts has been an issue that has been raised by many civil society organizations and the issue is valid as it will hold both government and the extractive industries accountable in their dealings .

RELEVANCE – Transparency

Actions Required/Milestones for Completion:

  • EITI Bill tabled in Cabinet by the Office of the Chief of Staff.
  • EITI Bill passed by Parliament.
  • Publish the process and outline the checks and balances carried out for allocation of licenses by the Mines and Mineral Resources Ministry and the Petroleum D irectorate.
  • Disclose environmental impact assessments prior to the award of any extractives rights.
  • Perform audits and publish financial reports of the Diamond Area Community Development Fund and the Community Development Fund.

Objective 3: improved corporate accountability through more transparent negotiation process es for mining activities and the utilization of open data portals to give the public access to mining contracts and other relevant documents

8) Improve monitoring of the Local Content Policy (LCP) especially around monitoring the implementation of activities and improving linkages with MDAs in order to improve local participation and accountability in the process.

This policy is necessary to ensure that there is su fficient linkage between the local economy and foreign enterprises. By setting specific performance requirements, the Government aims to ensure that the benefits that Sierra Leone seeks to obtain from FDI including improved technology and managerial skills are integrated into the domestic market and distribution networks. There are key facilitative commitments that are already prescribed by the LCP such the establishment of an implementing committee; however, it is currently not functional. However;it need s to become more functional. Since key MDA s have a monitoring role to play, it is important that they understand their roles and responsibilities to implement the LCP . Moreover, MDAs should have collaborative meetings and share plans, revenue streams to enh ance transparency and accountability

RELEVANCE – Accountability and Citizen Engagement

Actions Required/Milestones for Completion:

  • Setting up of a MDA linkage mechanism (revival of the implementing committee) to inform the implementation and monitoring of the local content policy to ensure more efficient sharing of information across key implementing institutions facilitated.
  • An audit of the implementation of the local Content Policy to inform the development of a Local Content Bill undertaken.
  • Local Content Bill tabled by Ministry of Trade and Industry in Cabinet.
  • Local Content Bill discussed and ratified by Parliament and passed into law.

9) 70% of all Mining and Agricultural lease agreements and contracts revised and made public with a view to improve transparency, accountability and public participation

Cu rrently, not all mining agreements and contracts are not accessible document s vis - à - vis Government online repositories. Following the preparation of the 2011 EITI report, a gap analysis was undertaken by Government institutions in collaboration with civil society organizations and one of the key areas of concern was the revision of contracts and making these documents public. While significant progress has been made on the revision of key mining contracts, some work is still required on making lease agreeme nts and contracts public in an effort to promote transparency and encourage civic participation in the debate and execution of mining contracts. This commitment will create more access points for the public to these documents to engender national debate.

RELEVANCE – Accountability and Citizen Engagement

Actions Required/Milestones for Completion:

  • 70% of mining and agricultural contracts published on the yet to be established open data portal, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Website and National Minerals Agency website.
  • Publish processes and outline the checks and balances carried out for allocation of licenses by the Mines and Mineral Resources Ministry and the Petroleum Directorate.
  • A bi - yearly symposium of private sector partners, relevant communities, Government and Civil Society Organizations to discuss the state of contract exec ution held.
  • Public discussions held on all new Mining Licenses and Contracts before they are signed by Government with relevant documentation prepared for public dissemination by Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources.
  • Participating Companies make publ ic their CSR Policy and yearly Work Plan (minimum - online posting of the work plan) to facilitate operationalization of the Community Development Agreement ensured by the Strategy and Policy Unit. Adherence monitored by the National Minerals Agency in a ye arly assessment of the respective work plans of the participating Companies.

10) Implementation of the Right to Access Information Law

The Right to Access Information Act was passed in October, 2013 as part of Government’s response to a clarion call to improve transparency across Government by making information readily available and accessible. Government has worked collaboratively with civil society and d onor partners to develop the Right to Access Information Act and implementation has lever aged on support from partners, however, we need to put pressure to ensure full implementation. GoSL is vested in ensuring that the Right to Access Information Act tenets take root in Sierra Leone and engender greater transparency in Government wide transactions. S ome training has been undertaken of Information Officers and a Right to Access Information Act implementation readiness assessment is currently underway but the process needs to be supported and nurtured to achieve the desired results.

Actions Required/Milestones for Completion:

  • Regulations to implement the FOI Act developed.
  • 250 public information officers in 13 Districts within the first year of implementation trained.
  • Public sensitization campaigns launched for both Government and non - government users.
  • Publ ic Information Commission established with Commissioner identified.

11) Establish an open data portal to improve transparency in fiscal and extractive transactions.

The Government of Sierra Leone has made a commitment to participate in the open government partnership in order to increase transparency and accountability, and at the same time to help in the fight against corruption.

RELEVANCE – Transparency and Technology/ Innovation

Actions Required/Milestones for Completion:

  • Open data readiness assessment completed in collaboration with development partners.
  • Experts on the design of an open data portal with development partners and Non - Governmental Organizations engaged.
  • Source funding to establish a data portal for pilot Government doc uments such as budget, 70% of mining and agricultural contracts and 20% of Laws of Sierra Leone that have been gazetted.