The Ministry of Finance, through the Fiscal Risks Management Division, together with stakeholders on 24 August 2023, held a Validation workshop to critically review and deliberate on the State-Owned Enterprises Bill at the Brookfields Hotel, Jomo Kenyatta Road, Freetown.
The workshop aims to explain the roles and responsibilities of the National Commission for Privatization and other bodies providing oversight functions to these state-owned Enterprises to avoid overlaps in executing their duties. Also, it creates an opportunity for stakeholders to give feedback and make inputs for the draft SOEs Bill.
Making a statement, the Minister of Finance, Sheku Fantamadi Bangura, stated that SOEs are responsible for creating opportunities for the government by playing a critical role in boosting the Agriculture, Energy and Water sector development in a way that will reduce the burden on the budget and when managed well would yield profit to the state.
He noted that the document would safeguard the work of the SOEs and encourage all participants to look at the document critically to avoid overlaps on the existing laws of the SOEs and make meaningful contributions to the finalisation of the document.
The Minister of Finance noted that he is mandated to oversee these sectors’ regulatory framework and ensure robust Management systems run them.
In his keynote address, Chief Minister Dr. David Moinina Sengeh said one of the Big Five Manifesto commitments of the President is to revamp the public service architecture. This process, he said, includes all Sierra Leoneans and the vision to ensure SOEs effectively deliver service to the people.
He added that the performance of the SOEs is critical for job creation, required skills, human capital development, and youth employment, making SOEs essential to achieving the BIG FIVE.
Dr. Sengeh encouraged all participants to ensure that the solutions and ideas they came out with would be brought back to the cabinet for discussion and would address all the issues that stakeholders have spoken about to ensure the people are happy.
The Financial Secretary, who doubles as the program’s chairman, Mathew Dingie, encouraged participants to deliberate well on the Bill to ensure the required result.
The director of the Fiscal Risk Management Division, Dr. Alhassan Mansaray, said the Bill should be manageable because there would be another regulation. He further stated that the functions of these entities vary, and the Act would look into them accordingly without interfering with each other’s job.
World Bank Country Manager Abdu Muwonga advised the participants that the workshop’s focus should be on consultation to ensure that they get the proper feedback to improve on the drafting process of the legislation.
Representatives from the National Commission for Privatization assured the SOEs that they are always available to collaborate with all MDAs to ensure the systems and processes of the SOEs are improved.
A representative from the Law Officers Department said the objective of his institution is not to make laws for other institutions but rather to guide them through the different considerations that come into play while drafting these laws.