Never mind heads of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and Ministry of Finance are being tapped on their shoulders for doing great jobs for their defunct ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) new direction regime, which could not change economic narratives as positive outcomes of their so-called efforts are yet to be seen reflecting on the ground in terms of fully actualizing the needful gains any serious could government boast of as immediate goals achieved so far.
The cries of economic hardship with high costs of essential commodities including food stuffs are already rendering the whole clichés of bread and butter economy much provocative, while the masses are dying of state-imposed hunger and starvation under the cover of the bread and butter hegemony of empty promises economy at the expenses of tax payers’ moneys.
In a failed revenue mobilization drive so that they can secure shares and eat from each and every bits of the national wealth, Finance through the long arm of the executive and the legislature have humbled the National Public Procurements Authority (NPPA) by sharing its mandates with the ACC as stipulated in the two new laws recently passed by lawmakers. Both humbled and demoralized the NPPA and its heads as well as their mandates as if Sowa is not living up to the expectations of his job. He is of course a very competent gentle.
The ACC Amendment Act 2019 to the ACC Act 2018 and the Finance Appropriation Act 2020 have clearly justified their interferences with the mandates of the NPPA through the two laws almost muffling the powers of the authority thereby underlining its effective operations and functions.
That incompetent and bias ACC commissioner Ben Francis Kaifala who is being widely commended for his said giant efforts in tackling corruption by all means in ‘paopa’ terms, even whiles failed Finance Minister Jacob Jusu Saffa is also being praised if not for presiding over the worst economy, but for presenting the 2020 budget also dubbed as a ‘bread and butter’ budget to the House of Parliament for debate and approval as appropriation Act 2020. To their boss and their admirers within the ruling elites they may be doing very well but their very well is not in the best interests for the nation.
Of course they would both defensively say their moves are being strategically employed by government to block what they call ‘leakages’ in public expenditures as promised by President Julius Maada Bio, though more need to be done by his finance minister Saffa and economists at the ministry to stabilize the local economy, foreign exchange rate and do away with the cheap and deceitful politics of lies about bread and butter budget, when three square meals are hard to come by, rather than taking up more responsibilities from the very diligent procurement authorities.
As results of their poking into the operations of others MDAs including the NPPA, the ACC and Finance as well as their bosses are always in the news for couple of reasons from sharing mandates with the NPPA amongst other things, which are not good for the reputational management of themselves and their various MDAs. ACC and finance must therefore stay in their offices and pay paramount attentions to their jobs for God’s sake. What else do they really want from government and other entities when in fact Kaifala is the highest paid Sierra Leonean for his selective anti-graft fight? ACC’s involvement in sharing mandate with NPPA is not a wise decision and government should thus revisit it to ensure that efficient and diligent operations of the authority are not badly affected by shared responsibilities.
That ACC and Finance have overnight become watchdogs for NPPA, is a serious problem of lack of public trust and confidence in who collects what for and on behalf of whom?
Reports are that parliamentary investigations into Ebola Virus Disease outbreak procurement of logistical materials banned certain people one of which is the current chair of the public procurements from holding any public office, following large procurements of supplies for fight against the EVD. But sadly for the nation most of those who were banned by the House of Parliament are presently high profile public servant job holders, they now hire and fire and have fired so many souls on war paths along ethnic, regional lines.
Government is not holding with first fist, they seem to have lost sight of the bigger picture and concentrated on satisfying their personal egos at the detriment of the masses. Then they keep deceiving the people with deadwoods ‘paopa Salone go beteh’ – Sierra Leone must better by all means in paopa terms.
This time the anti-graft commission’s functions have been expanded by the ACC 2019 Amendment Act, which empowers ACC commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala and the ACC to direct all procurement processes that have elements of corruption. Government knew all along that the NPPA under chairmanship of Sowa needs to be smartly marked by the ACC to ensure and guide with procurement processes and procedures.
The ACC and Finance knowing the fertility of the procurement sector, especially the NPPA glutinous Finance Minister Jacob Jusu Saffa also has his take with the 2020 Finance Act and now partly regulate the authority which is why they both have become untrained and unqualified or UU procurements gurus overnight, only to be duplicating mandates and functions of other vital but vulnerable MDAs, despite relentless efforts in delivering on their mandates.
Despite his past records, Sowa deserves a tap on his shoulder rather than setting watchdogs on him and the NPPA. Check the records, assess and evaluate the authority objectively and then use your conscience to rate the NPPA.
The situation has clearly exposed the long standing conflict between heads of the finance ministry and the procurement authority, despite gains being steadily made by the young man at the helm of affairs at NPPA Brima Ibrahim Sowa. These among several others within the graft commission and the finance ministry have to a large extent placed both MDAs in news headline for interferences into administrative arrangements of other departments.
More importantly the monitors, regulators and standard bearers themselves need to be properly screened before going after hardworking NPPA boss, who is being busy mobilizing revenues for the government to the tune of over seventy million United States Dollars. A job he has been doing very well since the government setting in last year to work without the supervisions of Saffa and Kaifala who have now become the new watchdogs of Sowa and the authority, not knowing that the very decision and laws undermine the NPPA more than how they think it is apparently aiding the authority’s works.
These unwarranted political and intimidating interferences have by all indications reduced the powers of the NPPA, and would end up upsetting the entire national revenue mobilization and fiscal improvement drives and efforts, especially when the direction is presently missing, for which lost leaders at Finance and at the ACC continue to be in the news for the wrong reasons.
Minister Saffa undeniably is not strange in the headlines more so for his inability and incompetence to handle and address problems associated with the ailing national economy, which the SLPP promised Sierra Leoneans to reform, though yet too far as a nation from getting there as current financial administration keeps dashing out of hands by the hours.
In fact, Finance Minister Saffa is always in the news for presiding over the worst economy, late payment of salaries, fall in local currency Leone, continuous defiance of the foreign exchange again the local currency, the indiscriminate intimidation of staff and his very lack of the required capacity to reform Sierra Leone economy as promised by the SLPP and Finance Minister Jacob Jusu Saffa while in opposition. And his failure to keep the promise as pledged has not speared him and president Bio wide spread criticism from the public, media and right across the globe. These amongst couple of other issues have made the failed minister of finance a bad news maker for the SLPP misled government.
As for the anti-graft agency boss Francis Ben Kaifala is also always another bad news maker for government for blatant intimidation of opposition politicians with politically motivated selective justice ACC allegations not to talk of his new law which mandates the ACC commissioner to as well share powers with the NPPA.
That in itself is completely out of the way and it is very much demoralizing if not the worst decision ever taken under the watchful eyes of lawmakers only to stifle the efficient and diligent young man Sowa on his job. This is due to the fact that certain sacred cows in the Bio led administration are strongly being protected by the powers that be. Recent cabinet speaks well to that there are the untouchables within.
Ironically, the best economic at George Street can hardly save Sierra Leone from sliding into a messy economic recession, amidst the sounding of ruling party slogan; ‘paopa Salone for betteh.’
Owing to the fact that Saffa and the ACC commissioner Kaifala have both failed to deliver on their mandates at the ACC and that of Finance, and president Bio being that kind of disciplinarian should be left with no alternative nor waste time in firing them.
They actually deserve to be fired now than never and shown the exit doors out of state governance, for ignoring the national goals of their departments and placed premiums on promoting their selfish desires as against state and public interest all in the unholy name of muffling the NPPA, whiles their own assignments still remained unsolved.