By: Thaimu Bai Sesay

The Sixth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone convened on Thursday, 18th January 2024, marking its inaugural session for the year. The primary agenda of the day involved debating the bill titled Monitoring and Evaluation Agency Act 2023, subsequently passing it for the committee stage to undergo a thorough examination.

According to the official announcement from the Parliament, the bill aims to establish the National Monitoring and Evaluation Agency as a semi-autonomous body, vested with the authority to enhance accountability and transparency in the disbursement and utilization of public funds. Its objectives include promoting efficiency and effectiveness in program and project delivery, along with addressing other related matters. The bill, having undergone its second reading, has now been advanced for the committee stage.

The Chief Minister of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, presented the bill in Parliament. Both ruling and opposition party members actively participated in the debate, offering critical insights, comments, and objections for further consideration and potential amendment.

Acknowledging the contributions and objections made during the debate, Chief Minister Sengeh assured Members of Parliament that their viewpoints would be given utmost consideration to ensure the passage of a well-crafted bill. Responding to concerns raised, he clarified that the proposed National Monitoring and Evaluation Agency was distinct from existing bodies like the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and others. Dr. Sengeh highlighted the agency’s potential to monitor projects in real-time, evaluate program effectiveness, and assess its impact on people’s lives, emphasizing the need for support.

The Chief Minister referenced Ghana’s experience with a similar agency, emphasizing its role in critically evaluating projects and ensuring realistic outcomes. He clarified that the agency would coordinate with existing monitoring and evaluation bodies, providing essential information to institutions such as the Ministry of Finance, ACC, Parliamentary oversight, and others.

During the debate, the Leader of Government Business and Majority Leader in Parliament, Hon. Mathew Nyuma, clarified that the proposed law did not conflict with existing bodies. He asserted its straightforward nature, emphasizing its role in ensuring financial prudence. Hon. Nyuma commended Chief Minister Sengeh for introducing the bill and expressed support for its passage into law.

However, opposition Member of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Barrie, representing Bombali district, contested the necessity of establishing a new agency, citing redundancy and potential negative impacts on the national budget. He argued that existing bodies such as the ACC, NPAA, and the Audit Service already performed similar functions, making the proposed agency redundant and potentially leading to unnecessary expenditure and confusion.

Hon. Bai Mamoud Kamara echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing that while the agency aimed to serve the people’s interests, its functions overlapped with existing bodies, creating a duplication of authorities and potentially wasting the country’s limited resources. He pointed out clauses in the bill that seemed to replicate activities already undertaken by the Anti-Corruption Commission.

The debate highlighted contrasting perspectives on the proposed Monitoring and Evaluation Agency, with proponents emphasizing its unique role and benefits, while opponents raised concerns about redundancy and increased financial burden. The bill has now entered the committee stage for further scrutiny and potential amendments before proceeding to the next legislative steps.







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