The Leadership and Management of the Ministry of Finance has concluded a three-day Strategic Planning retreat at The Place Resort, Tokeh.
The retreat was attended by the Minister and Deputy Ministers, the Financial Secretary and senior officials of the Ministry from 31st August to 2nd September 2023.
In his opening statement, Matthew Dingie, the Financial Secretary and chairman of the occasion, mentioned that the Strategic Plan for 2024 to 2026 will clearly articulate the broad objectives of the Ministry and help it redefine its vision, mission and organogram for the next three years.
He said the retreat will guide the Ministry to effectively mobilise and manage public resources in alignment with the commitments the Government has included in the 2023 People’s Manifesto, particularly the Strategic Big Five Initiatives.
While delivering his keynote address, Sheku Ahmed Fantamadi Bangura, Minister of Finance, underscored the importance of the event and the need for the Ministry to position itself robustly to support the aspirations of the Government.
He added that the role of the Ministry is defined by the Public Financial Management Act 2016 and several existing laws which require the Ministry to use its expertise to support the work of the Government.
The Minister highlighted that given the current global challenges and multiple crises that have adversely affected many developing economies, including Sierra Leone, the Ministry will pursue several actions to transform the economy and make it resilient. Specific revenue-enhancing measures, he said, will include the implementation of the Medium-Term Revenue Strategy (MTRS), a strengthened relationship with the National Revenue Authority (NRA), the use of innovative financing options such as climate finance and ways to harness resources from the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Minister Bangura also maintained that to improve budgetary processes and manage public expenditures, the Ministry will embark on the efficient management of the Wage Bill, including support to the Wages and Compensation Commission (WCC), strategies to deal with subsidies, and making capital spending more realistic to support growth and development.
According to the Minister, the Ministry will also improve the recording, accounting and reporting of public accounts, effectively address audit issues and improve the oversight of State-Owned Enterprises and managing fiscal risks.
Regarding creating new units to support emerging initiatives, the Minister commended the setting up of the Private Sector and Climate Finance Units, which he said are critical to the country’s innovative financing and development needs and aspirations of the Government.
Another novel item captured in the Minister’s statement includes establishing a Transformational Development Fund to manage natural resources revenues to support the implementation of transformational projects.
The retreat also benefitted from resounding messages delivered by Madam Jeneba Bangura and Bockarie Kalokoh, Deputy Ministers of Finance 1 and 2, respectively, who emphasised the need for teamwork, strengthening the institution through effective planning, and support to the general work of the Government. Other meaningful discussions during the retreat focusing on the Ministry’s functions include expanding collaboration with development partners, strengthening corporate governance, using research and evidence to support policy and decision-making, and a presentation of the draft Disaster Risk Financing Strategy.
Following the deliberations on several Strategic Objectives that have been developed for the 2024-2026 Strategic Plan of the Ministry, Matthew Dingie, the Financial Secretary, concluded on the note that a Results Monitoring Framework will be developed, and this will be fully utilised to track progress on the deliverables for the next three years.
The Financial Secretary also mentioned that professionalism and commitment from staff will be closely checked to ensure the successful implementation of the Plan and to enable the Ministry to support the broad agenda of Government.