Chief Minister opens Economic Resource Centre at the Ministry of Finance

Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa has officially opened an ultra-modern, state-of-the-art Economic Resource Centre at a short but significant ceremony at the Ministry of Finance at George Street, Freetown.

This Economic Resource Centre when open to the public will enable staff of the Ministry of Finance and other MDAs, students, and researchers to conduct research for policy formulation and other academic purposes.

The Centre, a three-storey building housing a seminar room, computer lab, archives room, canteen, and driver’s office was constructed by the Government of Sierra Leone. The African Development Bank (AfDB) through the Enhancing Policy Development: Research and Capacity Building (ENPODEV) Project at the Ministry of Finance funded the furnishing of the centre.

In her statement, the Principal Country Programme Officer of the AfDB, Felicitas Atanga noted that the primary objective of supporting the establishment of the Centre is to create a conducive space for learning, research, interaction, and networking among students, professionals, and researchers across different fields. She also noted that the ENPODEV Project continues to strengthen capacity building in economic policy formulation within the Ministry.

The Minister of Finance, Sheku Ahmed Fantamadi Bangura, expressed his profound gratitude to the Bank for supporting this great initiative. He added that the Ministry should continue to strengthen its efforts in building the country’s research and data capacity.

He applauded the Chief Minister for pioneering the initiative and considered the project as something that ‘befits his pedigree’. He said the construction of such a building not only underpins but also resonates with the government’s aspiration to promote economic growth and development through data-driven decision-making.

Furthermore, he said the centre will prove useful not only to the staff working on policy issues but to the entire research community in Sierra Leone. He is certain that a plethora of stakeholders will benefit greatly from the facility and its resources.

The keynote speaker, Chief Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa, thanked the Minister of Finance and team for the successful completion of the project. In delivering his address, he said research and development are the most critical drivers for productivity and economic growth in any country. “It has always been my goal for the Ministry to find new and innovative ways to collect, analyse, and utilise data to drive evidence-based decision-making,” he said.

He mentioned that the AfDB project is not only financing the setting up of the Resource Centre but also funding the upgrade of the Sierra Leone Data Analytic Tool (SLEDAT). Likewise, the project has also supported the deployment of the food stock and price monitoring system (SPMS) which is aimed at providing up-to-date information on commodity prices in the country.
Other speakers at the event include the Financial Secretary, Sahr Lahai Jusu and the Chief Economist, Alimamy Bangura. In delivering the vote of thanks, the Acting Director of the Research and Delivery Division (RDD), Alhaji Abu Komeh echoed the sentiments of previous speakers and applauded the support of the AfDB, the MoF Leadership, the Project Fiduciary Management Unit, the Directorate of Financial Management Systems and Technologies and other colleagues of the Ministry for their relentless efforts that led to the completion of the facility. He provided assurances that RDD would work with MoF staff, researchers and interested persons to fully utilise the services available at the Resource Centre.