VP Juldeh Jalloh Launches EITAP Second Phase

Freetown: 23rd October, 2018: Hon Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh on Tuesday 23rd October, on behalf of His Excellency Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio officially launched the second phase of the Extractive Industries Technical Assistance Project (EITAP) at the Miatta Conference Hall, Brookfields, Freetown.

 The launching of EITAP was in collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources and the World Bank. The rationale of the phase II project is to support artisanal mining sector in the country, increase geological knowledge and help to strengthen the governance system of the mineral sector.

According to the Country Manager of World Bank, Dr. Gayle Martin, the US$20M project aimed to improve on government framework and support the implementation of the mineral policy that is under review in Cabinet. The Mineral Policy she added will pave the way for the Mines and Mineral resources Act.

Dr. Martin commended the President, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio for his leadership in trying to get the balance right between the country’s investment scheme, people, institutions and its natural resources. This, she went on, is an important balance that many of the resource rich countries get wrong. She further commended the ‘New Direction’ Government for it early steps in the right direction.

In his statement, the Director General of the National Mineral Agency, Mr. Sahr Wonday said, the country is blessed with abundance of mineral wealth but the availability of these mineral does not in itself guaranteed the automatic benefits for the people of Sierra Leone.

He said, for these minerals to benefit the people of this country, good governance of the sector and prudent management of revenue is required. He maintained that, in order to achieve this, that is why the World Bank came in to support the government of Sierra Leone to address the challenges that are related to what was then an underdeveloped mining industry, which was poorly regulated by weak Government institutions.

The Petroleum Director, Mr. Tomothy Kabba in his statement said the launching ceremony presented an undefining moment in the country’s collective efforts towards maximizing the beneficial impact of non-renewable extractive assets. The extractive sector, he said, continues to hold poor means for radical transformation of the country which is so desperate for development.

Speaking on the New Mining Policy, the National Chairman of the Council of Paramount Chiefs, PC Sheku A. Fasuluku Sonsiama III said that, the new mining policy will help the country reflects the role of the sector as a driver of economic growth; and that with the support from World Bank, the country has advanced in the reforms necessary to improve governance in the mining sector, new legislatives and institutions etc.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dr. Priscillia Schwartz spoke on the need for an urgent review of the Mines and Mineral Act, the Extractive industries Revenue Act among others in order to usher in more clear and transparent provisions. She assured the gathering of her team members collaborative work in providing the technical expertise in the reviewing process.

Representing the Minister of Finance, the deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Patricia Lavaley said their role at the Ministry of Finance is to ensure that royalties generated from the investment in the mining sector are used on critical development interventions. The Ministry of Finance, she said, will be closely monitoring the volume of investment capital generated from the EITAP II.

Delivering the keynote speech on behalf of His Excellency Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, the Hon. Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh informed the gathering that, the prototype of governance in the extractive industries have failed to meet the popular expectations of the people of this nation and that as a responsible and caring government, they thought it fit to rethink the governance of the extractive sector in order to enable them exploit the desired benefits for the people of this nation.

He noted the President’s statement during his opening address at the state opening of Parliament when he said that, he has clearly underlined the deep challenges of lack of transparency and institutional capacity in the mining sector and the key policy directives that he is going to undertake in order to combat these challenges.

As a Government, the Hon. Vice President said, they do understand that, the transformation of extractive resource wealth to that of a tangible development outcome can only be achieved through effective governance of the mining sector, while taking into cognizance the need to mitigate the adverse environmental and social impact.

VP Jalloh went on to state that, as a government, they are expecting the fourth generation of the PRSP to lay out Government’s broad strategy for optimizing benefits from the extractive sector to go beyond loyalty payment and taxes to include sustainable livelihoods for the mining communities.

Speaking on the expectations of the EITAP phase II, the Vice President said that, the phase II project of EITAP is expected to build on the successes of the first phase which was geared essentially to improving mineral sector governance and management regimes, enhance geological knowledge through nationwide geophysical survey using aeromagnetic technology, and optimizing benefits from the artisanal mining sector among others.

He expressed government profound gratitude to the World Bank for their tremendous support to the government and people of Sierra Leone for this and other projects. He assured that, as an EITAP compliant country, the government commitment to transparent management of the extractive industries to ensure it strategic contributions to the country’s economic growth.

The ceremony was chaired by the Minister of Information and communication, Hon. Mohamed R. Swaray.

He furthered assured that, the Government of His Excellency Julius Maada Bio will review the Mines and Minerals Act of 2009 to ensure that, the economic dividend of the country is critical to the development effort.

on 24 October 2018