In the presentation of the findings on the implementation of the Social Safety Net (SSN) project and review of the just commenced Productive Social Safety Net and Youth Employment (PSSNYE) project, the World Bank Mission has, on Thursday 26th October 2023, lavished praises on the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and other and implementers of the Social Safety Net (SSN) project, in a well-attended programme at the Conference Hall, 5th Floor of the Freetown City Council Building, Wallace-Johnson Street, in Freetown.
The engagement organized by the World Bank, UNICEF and the Government of Sierra Leone, brought together stakeholders and key players in the SSN project including Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), such as; the Ministries of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs, Youth Affairs, Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Technical and Higher Education, Agriculture and Food Security, Labour, the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), National Youth Commission (NaYCOM), and the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA).
Presenting the findings of the Implementation Conclusion Report (ICR), Abu Kargbo, Senior Social Protection Specialist stated that the findings represent the position of the World Bank Mission Team. He said that the SSN project which started with USD$:7 Million Dollars and 700 beneficiaries in 2014, ended satisfactorily in June 2023, with over one Million beneficiary households benefiting, and a total budget of USD$:53 Million Dollars expended, which is no mean feat and for which he commended the Government, ACC, NaCSA and other players who were a part.
He furthered that after its implementation, the World Bank required the Government of Sierra Leone to do its ICR, before the Bank could send a team to do its own ICR noting that, during the 10 days assessment, the team looked at the relevance, efficacy and efficiency of the project in meeting to its targets. Dr. Kargbo recognized the specific role of ACC in attaining the level of success the project achieved.
Dr. Kargbo implored all stakeholders to inculcate the same commitment and dexterity invested in the SSN and the PSSNYE-which has started off well as the signs are promising. He further stated that the World Bank and UNICEF are satisfied with the findings and look forward to seeing few issues being fully resolved observing that, the recommendations in their findings are aimed at making the PSSNYE better, as in his words, “better is always possible”.
Dr. Kargbo also underscored that the PSSNYE project has started with a record USD$:42 Million Dollars funding and as and when properly utilized for the intended project objectives, more will always be a possibility. ‘’When we started in 2014 with the SSN it was with USD$7Million Dollars and we ended with USD$53Milion Dollars in 2023. Let us all continue to be steadfast, committed and unwavering in serving the needs of our people’’, he added.
In his statement, the Deputy Commissioner ACC, Augustine Foday Ngobie registered his satisfaction and fulfilment in the satisfactory World Bank Team ICR Report. He stated that it was not surprising because as he personally superintends the ACC’s role and the Grievance Redress component of the SSN and PSSNYE projects. ‘’At the ACC, we take very seriously the SSN project and have always ensured that at every stage; we do not only participate but create the required impact. This is a project with a zero corruption risk because we all did our best. On this day with a satisfactory report, I am, like all of us hear happy and proud. I am one of those who believe that we can make the required changes if we want to. We have what it takes. All we need is the resolve that we must do our best at all times, difficulties and temptations irrespective. Today we have created that history. I am proud of all of us and I thank the World Bank, UNICEF, Government of Sierra Leone and all of us who have made this a historic reality’’, the Deputy ACC boss averred.
Mr. Ngobie furthered that the Commission will continue to work tirelessly with its partners to ensuring that the risks of corruption undermining the PSSNYE and other projects are eliminated. He also stated that the GRM aspect of the PSSNYE will continue to create the desired impact. He pledged the Commission’s unflinching commitment to the PSSNYE and other projects.
The project Implementation Conclusion Report on the SSN is a holistic assessment of the implementation of the project in line with the objectives/targets, best practices and standards, and also an assessment on the ongoing implementation of the PSSNYE with recommended action points.
In his statement as Chairman of the program, the Commissioner of NaCSA, Ambassador Ernest Ndomahina lauded the World Bank and UNICEF for the support and the appreciated all players and stakeholders for the satisfactory report. He pledged NaCSA’s continued steadfastness to the successful implementation of the PSSNYE and all other pro-poor development projects and programes in the spirit of national development.
Valuable contributions were also made by Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies present at the presentation of the Report.