In a recent program held at the New Brookfields Hotel in Freetown, key representatives from various government ministries, departments, and agencies gathered to receive insights into the policy approach that will shape the 2024 budget.
The gathering featured prominent figures including political and professional heads from the Ministry of Finance and related ministries, as well as the Vice President of Sierra Leone. They outlined the key points of the 2024 budget hearing, which officially began on Monday, October 9, 2023.
The Financial Secretary of the Ministry of Finance delivered a notable address, highlighting the central role of the Feed Salone initiative in the 2024 budget and subsequent years.
He stressed the importance of enhancing Sierra Leone’s agricultural productivity as a fundamental step towards ensuring food security for the nation’s children.
During the discussions, the budget was portrayed as a vehicle to foster a deep understanding of the Feed Salone Initiative, encompassing its concepts, policies, design, and costs. The aim is to engage all stakeholders, including the government, private sector, and ordinary citizens, in comprehending their roles in making the initiative a reality.
Moreover, the Financial Secretary emphasized that budget allocations are likely to prioritize support for agriculture, aligning with the government’s focus on this vital sector.
Notably, the upcoming bilateral budget hearings set to commence next week will depart from traditional approaches. They will not only consider the monetary requests of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) but also evaluate their capacity to generate income, a facet previously given limited attention.
Dr. Titus Williams, speaking on behalf of the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, emphasized the overarching theme of the 2024 Budget Process – “Consolidating Gains and Accelerating Transformation Within the Framework of the National Development Plan 2024-2028.” This theme aligns with the government’s aspiration and signifies a step toward shaping the country’s new medium-term agenda, recognizing the gains made in human capital development over the past five years.
Sheku Fantamadi Bangura, while outlining the priorities of the 2024 budget, emphasized:
- The consultative nature of the budget process involving both state and non-state actors.
- The focus on implementing programs that cater to the needs of the Sierra Leonean people.
- The commitment to transparency, as the draft appropriation bill will be gazetted for a minimum of two weeks to allow for public scrutiny and feedback.
- The expectation that MDAs will find internal means to generate more income for the government, aligning with the “big five” and the National Development Plan led by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.
- The unveiling of this policy approach marks a significant step in shaping Sierra Leone’s future and ensuring that the 2024 budget addresses the nation’s critical priorities.