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Dr. Samura Wilson Mathew Kamara, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development on Wednesday, July 13, vigorously defended the necessity of Budget Support during a panel debate in Brussels organised by Oxfam International and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). (Photo: Dr. Samura Kamara vigorously arguing on the necessity of Budget Support)
Dr. Kamara told the audience that given the progress made so far in addressing fiduciary issues, Budget Support has proven to be a relatively very reliable, predictable and dependable aid instrument and very appropriate in addressing recurrent expenditures associated with the current drive by post-conflict countries toward promoting high sustainable growth, lasting human development through attainment of MDGs and institutional capacity.
Citing Sierra Leone as an example, the Financial guru said the Budget Support to Sierra Leone have been used along with other extra budgetary support mechanisms toward sustaining macro-economic stability; ensuring social safety nets to build human security and reduce social tensions; strengthening fiscal governance; minimising opportunities for corruption; promoting sector governance including natural resource transparency; optimising internal revenue generation and promoting privates sector investment to reduce aid dependence in the long term.
He disclosed that there are regular high level bilateral and multilateral discussions with donors on varied economic, social and political themes and operational issues like DEPAC, Steering Committees, EU-MOFED monthly meetings, Presidential Task Forces etc.
Accepting the fact that there are challenges and room for improving on budget support provisioning instrument to ensure a win-win situation, Dr. Kamara suggested the improvement of sector focus and complementarities, conditionality, disbursements, scaling up, predictability, coordination and cooperation. He further suggested that the donors should ensure that interventions are well thought out and better articulated and delivered in a timely manner and above all, the strengthening of trust and confidence.
Other Panelists include the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs; the Director of Global Economy and Development Strategies in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in France, Serge Tomasi; Head of Directorate General, Africa Global and Sectoral Affairs in the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development in Germany, Dr. Friedrich Kitschelt and Madam Helen Magombo, the Policy Adivosor on Aid Effectiveness, Oxfam.
The European Union is one of the largest providers of budget support aid to developing countries. However, according to the organisers of the debate under the topic “Budget Support: Good or bad for development?”, the EU budget support presently stands at a crossroads, despite being described by the European consensus on development as the preferred aid modality. While some EU member states remain strong supporters of budget support, a growing number have started to question the instrument and its effectiveness.
In December 2010, the European Commission launched a debate on the future of EU budget support. Proposals from the Commission on the future of EU Budget Support are expected in October and Member States are expected to adopt conclusions on the issue by the end of the year. This process will decide what EU Budget Support will look like in the next five years.
By Chernor Ojuku Sesay, Information Attache, Sierra Leone Embassy, Brussels/EU
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