Sierra Leone News: I’m leaving S/Leone as strong supporter of development aid –Outgoing IMF Boss
By Stephen V. Lansana
I am leaving Sierra Leone as a strong supporter of development aid,
the outgoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) Resident Representative said on Monday.
Dr Iyabo Masha was speaking at a farewell cocktail at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Freetown. The programme was well attended by government ministers, parliamentarians and heads of diplomatic missions, among others,
The IMF boss has been in the country for the past four years. She praised civil servants for their dedication to the job. “As somebody who has worked in more than 20 countries in Africa and Asia, I believe Sierra Leone has every right to be proud of the qualities of her officials and their dedication to the common goal,” she said.
She recognised the cooperation from her colleagues in the development community including United States systems and bilateral and multilateral development partners, adding that working together with them, she has come to appreciate how much of the difference the development community aids in a country like Sierra Leone. “While I understand some of government concerns about development aids, I will say I am leaving Sierra Leone as a strong supporter of development aids, and that I am wiser than them when I took up office,” she said.
She said, “The Civil Society Organisation space in Sierra Leone is one of the most active I have ever come across. They cover a wide range of issues, and advocate for the less privileged. It is heart-warming to see how engaged they have been on the issues of the day and how much they keep the government on its toes. This is what makes the society, both the ruled and unruled to be aware of their obligations not only to their supporters but to the generality of the poor.”
She said that CSOs are not necessarily anti-government organisations, they assist the government to get where the citizens what them to be.
She explained that in one of her travelling, she saw a signboard of DFID funded project in a remote community with little or no government precess, adding that she also rode through the mines and agricultural projects where she had investors talking about their challenges. “I recognised the ramifications of polices that development practitioners pursue and those they do not pursue,” she said. “I have met a lot of friends, but this should not come as a surprise because the people of this country are hospitable, friendly and humble.”
She appreciated the religious tolerance in the country, adding that if this is a deliberately practised social policy, things would have got better.
Dr Masha said, “I want us to remember that as development practitioners, human are the ultimate beneficiaries or casualties of our policies. We owing ourselves our future generation to practice a society that is inclusive, spared prosperity into its operations, create jobs and invest endlessly in human and physical capital.”
“The new government medium term development plan has already started this journey. The road will sometimes be rough and seems out of reach, but with policy discipline, professional development partners, continuous respect for property rights for both local and foreign investors,” she emphasized. “With this, I see success at the end of the tunnel, because the opportunities are there,” the IMF Rep said.
In his farewell statement, the Minister of Finance, Mr Jacob Jusu Saffa appreciated the outgoing IMF Boss for her collaborative effort with the government. He said that the IMF Boss will monitor the implementation of every agreed project signed with the government, adding that she will be eager to know about the payment of contractors, and salaries, among others.
He said that the IMF Boss has been very accommodating to the ministry, adding that she was concerned about everything that affects the country ranging from mining, finance and agriculture, among others.