Members of Parliament on 15th December 2015 ratified two grants agreements: the Amended Restated Financing Agreement (Social Safety Net Project) grant nos. H925-sl and DO 920-SL and the Financing Agreement Supplemental Financing for Emergency and Fiscal Support Development Policy Financing grant no. D 1000-SL signed between the government of Sierra Leone and the International Development Association (IDA) that was laid on the table of Parliament on diverse dates in 2015.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Kaifala Marah who tabled the grants agreements, entreated Members of Parliament about the importance of the grants and how it would greatly improve the living standard of the people of Sierra Leone especially in the four piloted districts identified as having the incidences of extreme poor people in the country.
Among these four piloted districts, the Minister told MPs in the Well of Parliament, that in the northern region, Bombali District was identified for having a high number of extreme poor with a number of 113,195 rated at 44% followed by Kono District in the Eastern Region with 55,821 at 22%; Moyamba District in the Southern Region with 49,868 at 19% and the Western Rural Area with 38,316 at 15%.
Minister Marah furthered that the project would target approximately 12,000 extremely poor households in the poorest district in each of the country’s four regions, adding that the four district serves as a pilot out of the fourteen districts in order to balance capacity limitations with innovation and that the distribution of beneficiaries across the districts is based on the distribution of the poor in the named districts.
He furthered that due to the hardship caused by the EVD outbreak in 2014, the World Bank decided to scale up its support to extremely poor households in Sierra Leone as a means of mitigating the effect of the Ebola pandemic.
The total package on the Social Safety Net Project stands at US$10M provided by the World Bank and US$3,107,000 is provided by the British Department for International Development (DFID), both amounts will be administered by the World Bank.
He continued that transfers of fiscal proceeds would be made to women within each targeted household in order to increase the potential of higher impacts on human capital.
Dr. Kaifala Marah maintained that the supplemental Financing grant from the International Development Association through which the resources was derived for the support of the extremely poor communities, it would be of considerable benefit to the government and people of Sierra Leone.
He furthered by stressing that the relief that the resources would provide to the already strained public finances would in turn increase the fiscal space for government to better respond to the needs generated by the Ebola epidemic and in particular provide for the economic recovery plan.
He continued that after the EVD outbreak, the project would certainly increase the opportunities for extremely poor households to participate in universal coverage programmes and economic growth, thereby contributing to social cohesion.
Hon. Hassan Sheriff of Constituency 053, Port Loko District who doubles as Chairman Finance Committee in Parliament, applauded President Koroma’s government for having such a forthright personality in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in the person of Dr. Kaifala Marah for his concern for the welfare of Sierra Leoneans.
He said the two agreements seek to address the issues of extreme poor stating that such project when properly implemented, would be in line with international best practices as it is done in other countries to care for the aged and children and urged the implementing agency, National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) to ensure that the projects get to the targeted communities as identified.
Hon. PC Joseph Alie Kavura Kongomoh II from Moyamba said the agreements are straight forward focusing to improve the economic status of the people.
Hon. Alhaji Ansumana Jaia Kaikai (SLPP) Deputy Minority Leader thanked the government for continuing in the right path of development as laid down by the former regime which has helped greatly putting in place mechanism for good governance.
Hon. Ibrahim R. Bundu majority leader commended government for its strides in seeking for the wellbeing of Sierra Leoneans and assured of more under the APC regime.