Olayinka Olu-Collier reports
This grant is designed to create a foundation for more reliable provision of water and electricity services for the people of Sierra Leone with a focus on Greater Freetown.
Speaking on the significance of this signing, Chief of Staff Saidu Conton Sesay said that in December 2013, due to some set-backs, the Sierra Leone Compact Legibility was suspended and a limited partnership status was prescribed by the MCC Board.
During this period, he said that the Government of Sierra Leone made commitments aimed at fighting corruption and increasing transparency in the public sector. There was also progress, he continued, in all areas of commitment including gaining membership of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, the Open Government Partnership and also the launch of a special programme to combat petty crimes in public service delivery.
In December 2014, following a year of progress and sustained demonstration of commitment in the partnership with the MCC, the Board of Directors, Mr. Sesay explained, selected Sierra Leone for a threshold programme. He said Tuesday’s signing ceremony provides evidence of the achievements made since January.
These achievements, Chief of Staff noted, included ten months of technical analysis, policy discussions and legal negotiations between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
He further said that since the country’s selection for the MCC partnership, the Government has attached high level of importance to ensuring that the Compact Development Process takes precedence.
To date, he added, the Government has made investments of a little over $3 million United States dollars on the MCC process. This, he concluded, was achieved with high quality team of experts that has been outstanding and exemplary.
In his submission, the United States Ambassador, John Hoover said that access to clean water and reliable, affordable electricity are essential to sustainable development.
The partnership between Sierra Leone and the United States, Ambassador Hoover said, has always been one of trust and commitment.
In both sectors, he said, the goal is to increase production and access to electricity and water which are two fundamental requirements for successful economic development.
Ambassador Hoover further expressed his hope and desire that MCCU and the two Ministries, Water and Electricity, worked together as a team and move forward in policy reform, capacity building and effective governance; since so much depends on power and water.
Access to clean water, along with reliable and affordable electricity, he said, will improve the lives of Sierra Leoneans and catalyze economic growth in the country.