Finance Minister

By Sulaiman Jalloh

In a significant move to prepare for disaster occurrence in Sierra Leone, Minister of Finance, Sheku Ahmed Fantamadi Bangura, on Thursday, 21st March 2024, launched the Disaster Risk Financing Strategy and Implementation Plan for 2024 – 2029 at the Atlantic Hotel Lumley Beach Freetown which aims to improve fiscal risk management related to disasters by bringing together various ongoing and planned efforts from different sectors.

Delivering his opening statement, Matthew Dingie the financial secretary at the ministry of finance said the document will seek not only to respond to disasters but also to prepare and give quick responses, most times, when a disaster happens, it’s difficult to know how many lives were lost, how many properties were lost, and the financial loss during the incident.

“The weather these days is unpredictable, by having rains in the middle of the dry season, which clearly shows the impact of climate change, and we need to respond and manage disasters”, he supplemented

Sheku Fantamadi Bangura, Minister of Finance, thanked the group working teams and international partners for putting the document together to help solve disaster problems in the Country. He noted that the country has continuously faced disasters ranging from Ebola, Mudslides, Covid-19 which cost the country dearly in both human and financial loss, saying the disasters cause severe strain on the budget, disrupt the economy, and hinder development efforts, noting that this strategy will provide solid financial safeguards to help tackle the effects when they happen.

For his part, the Director General of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), Lt Gen (Rtd) Brima Sesay, said the strategy will help the government protect and secure its current development strategies in implementing its Big Five Game Changers for building an inclusive and prosperous Sierra Leone, pointing out that, climate change ramifications might lead to disasters that can pose severe challenges for the government’s national development plan 2024-2030 initiatives and its Feed Salone Programme.

Speaking on behalf of the commissioner general National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), Balito Songa, Deputy Commissioner (NaCSA), thanked local and international partners for developing the document and other interventions on climate change and other disasters in the Country, furthering the Commission has been handling level three disasters in the country, which are considered more frequent and likely to shock the lives of citizens.

“In all of these responses, there is no clear financial strategy to address disasters by the disasters implementing agencies, but with this today, the work of implementing agencies would be reflective”, he Stressed.

In a PowerPoint presentation, the Director of the Fiscal Risk Division, Ministry of finance, Dr Alhassan Koroma, highlighted the different areas the strategy is targeting, the process of putting it together and steps to rollout implementation, adding the strategy provides a framework for coordination among key stakeholders to implement activities that will enhance the financial resilience of the Government of Sierra Leone and households and businesses in the face of disaster.

He acknowledges the role of working group members, the World Bank, other development partners, and other government agencies like NaCSA, SLICO, NDMA, MOHs, EPA, MOE, and all Disasters Management Agency.

World Bank representative, Dr. Abu Kargbo said the disaster risk finance is a long-term strategy that will impose a significance impact while expressing gratitude to the government of Sierra Leone specifically the ministry of finance, saying the implementation of the document will yield an impact.

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