Lack of Coordination Hinders AfT Progress

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    The National Coordinator of the Liberia Development Alliance (LDA), Mr. Amara Mohammed Konneh, has observed that a lack of proper coordination among government officials and sector heads of the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) is a key factor hindering the overall performamnce of the AfT.

    Mr. Konneh, who is also Minister of Finance, spoke Saturday at the Steering Committee Meeting of the Liberia Development Alliance (LDA) in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, where the Government of Liberia (GOL) released the first annual progress report on the AfT.

     The report describes the work that has been completed on the implementation of the AfT, (January to December 2013). The report is based principally on qualitative and quantitative information gathered over the one-year period from all stakeholders involved in Liberia’s development efforts.

    President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who chairs the LDA, presided over the Meeting attended by Cabinet Ministers, the Legislature, development partners, civil society and private sector stakeholders.

    In his summary presentation, Minister Konneh announced that the government’s overall performance in year one of the AfT yielded a total preliminary score of 53 percent. He observed that lots more would have been achieved had most of the sectors‘ heads properly coordinated their efforts. The LDA boss, however, noted that though the score is good in the first year, there are still challenges.

    “There are still challenges despite the gains,“ he said. Mr. Konneh clarified that the scorecard being released on the progress report of the AfT is not the final. “The final scorecard will be released in June after all of the sectors‘ heads meet and agree,“ he declared.

    The AfT interventions are categorized into five pillars: peace, security and rule of law (PSRL), economic transformation (ET), human development (HD), governance and public institutions (GPI) and cross cutting issues (CCI).

     Under the PSRL, the total of 169 interventions were required, but 76 interventions were made in year one with 52 completed totalling 68 percent. This sector had a total strategic objectives of 17 and is considerd the best performer.

     In the ET sector, a total of 323 interventions were required, but 47 interventions were made in year one, with 26 completed and a score of 55 percent. This sector’s total strategic objectives are 32.

     The HD sector’s total strategic objectives were 17,  while a total of 191 interventions were required in year one, but a total of 29 interventions were made with 16, which amounts to 55 percent.

     The GPI sector’s strategic objectives were 27; while the total interventions required were 204. The total interventions made in year one were 58 and the total completed was 21; with a score 36 percent.

     In the CCI sector, a total of 85 strategic objectives were set, 394 total interventions were required, with 67 interventions made in year one and 32 completed at the rate of 48 percent; thus making the total completion rate of the AfT in year one to 53 percent.

     Finance Minister Konneh noted that the 53 percent completion rate of the AfT clearly indicates the need for sector heads to coordinate their activities.

     Konneh’s called for stronger and better coordination among sector heads and stakeholders that would dispel rumors that some key cabinet ministers in President Sirleaf’s government are at odds with one another.

     Many people here beleieve that most of these officials are not friendly because they are divided over who to succeed President Sirleaf.

     Some Liberians are worried that differences between government officials are having negative impact on their own performances in government, which they observed has led to poor performance by some entities during the first year of the AfT.

    Meanwhile, Minister Konneh has told sector heads and development partners that the Ministry of Finance, through the LDA, tracks the implementation of national priorities and sector projects.

     He explained that information gathered from the monitoring process is used to produce a dashbord which compares such informatiaton as the timing of the release of AfT funding to implementing entities with  actual progress made on implementation.

     The Minister disclosed that an analysis of 26 tracked projects reveals that two are problematic, 11 delayed, and 13 completed satisfactorily, representing an overall performance rate of 50 percent for the government.

     He clarified that projects under roads and energy made significant progress, but reported that the Medina-Robertsports highway remains problematic, as the project was suspended amidst allegations of improriety, while agriculture & forestry sectors did not perform below expectation.

     Reacting to the report, President Sirleaf thanked pillar chairs for the gains being recorded as she acknowledged the support of development partners for continuing to help Liberia achieve its ambitious development agenda encapsulated in the AfT.

     It has been estimated that effective implementatin of the AfT over the five-year period (2012-2017)  would cost approximately US$3.2 billion.

    The GOL says it has successfully mobilized over US$2 billion in committed financing, including US$114 million and US$393 million in credits (20 percent of the total US$3.2 billion over the past 20 months).

    To date, according to Finance Minister Konneh, donors have disbursed US$673,824,913 in financing while the government has disbursed  US$100,120,870 to fund public sector investment programs (PSIP).

    The (AfT), the five-year development plan (2012-2017) that succeeds  the PRS (2008-2011), provides a medium-term framework for implementing the country’s long-term development aspirations of moving Liberia toward middle income country status as outlined in the National Vision, Liberia Rising 2030.

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