By Ragan M. Conteh
As controversy continues to ensue on the un-accountable imprest of the President, Vice President and Speaker of Parliament, Members of Parliament have expunged section 42 of the 2020 Finance Act.
The reason for throwing out section 42 is as a result of the comments made by the President in accordance with Standing Order 58(7 and 8) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone on the Finance Act, 2020.
The motion was moved by the SLPP Hon. Hindolo Gevao, seconded by Hon. Alpha Amadu Bah stating that that section 42 of the assent copy of the Finance Act, 2020 be expunged.
The amendment of section 42 if approved would not give powers to the President, Vice President and Speaker to enjoy un-accountable imprests where many citizens who have been following Parliamentary proceedings criticized the section on the Finance Act.
Some ruling and opposition MPs were very much vociferous, condemning the un-accountable imprest which tends to legalize corruption and unaccountability in the country.
MPs stated that section 42 of the 2020 Finance Act did not portray the good image of the country especially so when the country is yearning for transparency and accountability, adding that the Finance Act did not have real issues that are of utmost concern to members of the public.
The 2020 Finance Act also incapacitated the National Procurement Authority by reducing its powers, adding that if not addressed, the country is heading for jeopardy.
The MPs stated that the Ministry of Finance has also defeated the NRA, NCP and NPPA for the purposes for which they were created, some say NPPA is now a living corpse.
Hon. Abdul Kargbo representing Constituency 077 informed Parliamentarians that the Ministry of Finance has interfered on viable institutions and that such institutions have been strangulated by the Ministry of Finance.
Hon. Kargbo mentioned that section 68 of NPPA Act only gives the institution to set up threshold, adding that NPPA is doing what is expected of World Bank and IMF informing that most of the regulations were done by NPPA and World Bank which replicated international standards.
He said the Ministry of Finance should not amend an institution that is doing exemplarily well in the past decade by saving over billions of Leones for the government.
Section (1) and (2) of the Finance Act also said the President may grant approval for the use of sole sourcing in respect of the procurement of sensitive security-related goods, works and services for use by the President and Vice President on a case by case basis.
By Ragan M. Conteh