The Secretariat of the Sierra Leone Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (SLETI) and the Multi Stakeholder Group has engaged stakeholders, in the mineral sector, on the issues raised in the 2015 and 2016 reports.
The session, which was held in Freetown, brought together development partners, mining communities, mining companies, civil society players, the media and members of the multi stakeholder group.
Welcoming partners Mrs. Annie Lansana, Finance and Administrative Manager, SLEITI, noted that the presence of the various stakeholders speaks to the fact that they are ready to move efforts towards strengthening transparency and accountability in the sector.
Hon Joseph Kaindoh, former Member of Parliament and now civil society chairman in the south region, noted that they, as civil society, have a responsibility to participate in both policy formulation and implementation since they are always with the grassroots people. He called for citizens to disregard other negatives such as tribalism, nepotism and other considerations and support government’s efforts at developing the various sectors.
A representative of the World Bank, Kemoh Mansaray, assured the multi stakeholder group, communities and other critical players in the SLEITI process of the Bank’s support and highlighted a number of programs and projects the Bank has supported, such as the establishment of the National Minerals Agency and the current geophysical survey intended to track information on undiscovered minerals in the country.
He continued that maintaining credibility, transparency, accountability and integrity in the SLEITI process is critical and would lead to the development of the country’s economy.
Mr. Mansaray, who represented the World Bank, committed the Bank’s support to the process and called on stakeholders to put all efforts into the process.
Yusuf Dauda Suma, who represented the National Minerals Agency, noted that they, at the NMA, are moving towards complementing the SLEITI process by ensuring transparency in the issues of licenses. He disclosed that the NMA has developed a repository wherein all credible information and licenses, community development agreements and other details could be accessed.
He gave a comprehensive overview of the mineral sector, dilating on the regulatory environment, contribution of the sector to the economy, active and non active mining companies in the country together with revenues generated between 2001 and 2019.
The Chairperson of the Multi Stakeholder Group, who also doubles as the Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office, Madam Francess Piegie Alghali, noted that the new Government decided, when it took power in June, 2018, to get the MSCG under the Office of the Vice President, adding that a number of stakeholders, including relevant ministries, mining communities and companies, meet regularly with a view to identify continuous reforms to make the sector more transparent and accountable.
She assured all of Government’s commitment to the process, citing assurances made by President Julius Maada Bio in Senegal to roll out the Beneficial Ownership Programme for Sierra Leone by January 2022. This means that all shareholders of mining companies, who have more than 5% shares in companies operating in Sierra Leone, should disclose their ownership.
The MSCG Chair noted that reviewing the Mines and Minerals Act, which government is committed toward doing, is integral towards meeting this commitment.
Earlier on the Chairman of the ceremony, Daniel Gbondo Esq., who also doubles as the Natural Resources Manager at the Ministry of Mines and Ministry Resources, said that the sector is critical to the development of the economy, noting that they are doing a lot as a ministry to improve on transparency in the sector.
He highlighted the role of SLEITI, informing that making information around the extractive process and maintaining transparency remains very integral to the work of SLEITI and the MSCG.
Mr. Gbondo further noted that, cascading the contents of the report, to stakeholders and also addressing the huge concerns raised should be the business of everybody in the multi stakeholder group.
Madam Mina Horace, the National Coordinator for SLEITI, presented the critical issues in the reports and called for action in most of the critical areas highlighted in the report. She disclosed that they, at SLEITI, have developed an action plan to quickly address the issues and challenges raised. She however pointed out that the country has been reporting since 2010 and further disclosed that the report lapsed for two years.
She encouraged all MDAs and other sector players, involved in the process, to treat the issue of information with seriousness. She called on them to report on time as late reporting heavily impacts on SLETI’s reporting process.