The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has begun a week-long consultation meeting to solicit citizen’s views from citizens in the diaspora on what development should be prioritized under President George Manneh Weah’s Pro-Poor agenda policy.
The meeting, which started on Monday, 23 April at the Paynesville City Hall, under the theme: “National Development Planning Sectoral Consultation Towards Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PADA)” with sub-theme: “Promoting a Participatory Development Planning Process” will address five thematic areas including health, infrastructures, education, youth development and the economy.
The consultation brought together government officials from line Ministries and Agencies, partners, private sector, among others, under the theme; Promoting Participatory Development Planning Process.
Giving an overview of the exercise, Tanneh Brunson, deputy finance minister for budget, noted that if the policy should be effected, the government should begin by ensuring greater equity at the start of the growth process, citing land rights or by decreasing inequality during the growth process, such as making low skilled jobs more readily available and thereby pushing up wages among the poor.
According to her, the objective is to obtain input from participants to adequately identify pro-poor policies which are directly impacting on poverty, and do not have unfavorable consequences on growth and may even promote it.
“As we deliberate, and develop our path out of poverty, we have to focus not only on the growth of opportunities, but also on internal constraints, on aspirations and behaviors that limit poor people’s ability to participate. Let’s us also sustained process of poverty reduction by making sure that our strategy focuses on reducing inequality, through redistribution of assets or income.
“So the objective of this engagement is to obtain your input as we identify pro-poor policies which directly impacting on poverty do not have unfavorable consequences on growth and may even promote it,” she said.
According to her, public policies need to influence both the process of generation and distribution of income in such a way as to disproportionately benefit the poor.
Assistant Minister for Budget at Finance, Benedict Kolubah said the ministry hopes to achieve an inclusive and participatory national development plan that considers the plights of people in the diasporas, the sectors, counties, and ever here for the next five years.
“We are following the principles of development, because we have partners that are supporting us, including the United Nations Development Programs (UNDP) and others are interested in the plan that we have develop so they can make they inputs that will be beneficiary to this government,” Kolubah added.
According to him, the pro-poor agenda considers five thematic areas, including Agriculture, Health, Infrastructure Development, Youth Development, and the Economy that would be prioritized in the next five years.
He said in line with mandate from President George Manneh Weah, the current effort is aimed at identifying interventions that would lift the people from one level to another, explaining that in the 2018, 2019 national budget US$78 million is allotted to prioritize these five thematic areas.
“We expected to have a national development plan by June this year, to have the launch, and move from one county to another to gather views to have the plan achieve its goals,” said Kolubah.
Presenting on the concept of Pro-poor Towards the Development of PAPD, Benedict Kolubah, assistant finance minister, told the gathering that under President Weah led government over 250,000 youth will benefit as part of the youth reorientation an empowerment program.
He said they will establish and operate comprehensive integrated sports academy programs in the country.