The Director of Strategy and Operations for the West and Central Africa Region of the World Bank, Elizabeth Huybens, has on Thursday, 23rd June 2022, paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Finance during her 5-day working visit in Sierra Leone.
Welcoming the Director to his office, Minister of Finance Dennis k. Vandi expressed that the government is happy with the interventions of the World Bank in the areas of budget support, projects in different sectors and providing technical assistance to the government.
He furthered that the impact of the global economic shocks on the country’s economy due to the Russia-Ukraine war, the World Bank and the government need improve on the aspect of social safety net to cushion the effect of the increase in fuel and food prices.
He updated the Director about progress made on the country’s CPIA ratings, stating the government is very committed to implementing the DPO’s triggers which are already before the cabinet and parliament like the Lands right bill and the review of labour laws.
Minister Vandi extends the appreciation to the Bank for the discussions around increasing budget support for 2022 from $75m to $100m to mitigate the rise in commodity prices and investment in pro-poor projects.
He highlighted other issues relating to the country’s debt profile, thereby calling for more grants to implement service deliverable projects, the issues of climate change, and carbon financing and reiterates government commitment to strengthen the relationship with the Bank.
In her statement, she thanked the Minister of Finance Dennis K Vandi for the warm welcome and reception, stating that she is here to understand the on-field operations of the Bank’s programmes and to see how they can improve on them by supporting the government.
Elizabeth Huybens commends the government for the measures taken to improve the country’s CPIA ratings and disbursement rates, noting that these are key indicators for the quality of the portfolio and IDA allocations. She also commends the government for investing a significant per cent of its budget in Human Capital Development.
The Director of strategy and Operations furthered that the Bank is willing to support the government on food security issues, energy transition and capacity building.
Financial Secretary Sahr Lahai Jusu in his, remark stated that the government has set up a committee that meets regularly to discuss and take action on issues around the CPIA and that they are planning to conduct a study tour in Rwanda to see their CPIA model.
Commissioner-General of the National Revenue Authority Dr Samuel Jibao thanked the World Bank for their support towards the migration from ASYCUDA ++ to ASYCUDA world which is a web-based application that improves the operations and administration of taxes.
He updated the Director on the implementation of the Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) and the Electronic Cash Register and calls for further enhancement of these infrastructures and capacity building.