Salone News

The MCC Scorecard: The melodies of Bio

10 November 2021 at 16:36 | 681 views

By BW Bockarie, Freetown

Too many good things are happening to our country in recent times that most Sierra Leoneans are happy about, except for those who are at odds with themselves. The main opposition All Peoples Congress has been on the rampage making frantic efforts to paint the government black, and make it look like the worst ever in the history of this country. Unfortunately, their efforts have been hitting brick walls, yielding no result but instead generating more positives internationally. The government of President Julius Maada Bio is getting rave reviews and making the headlines for all the good reasons. The Millennium Challenge Corporation scorecard is just one that rubbed salt into the injury of the APC and left them licking their wounds, with their tails firmly tucked between their legs. It came just weeks after President Julius Maada Bio returned from COP26 after making a compelling argument for Sierra Leone in agitating for efforts to curb global warming and fight climate change.

The MCC scorecard is like a nail driven into the hearts of the haters of the country who crave for nothing else but bad news for their country. As if nothing good fits us. Life of course can be difficult for the blind, but when you feel development and refuse to acknowledge it, your life becomes more miserable.

Sierra Leone passed 13 categories this year, but additionally we made progress in new areas where we had not passed in previous years. Protection of mineral rights for the first time got a green tick under a green government. The country, under the astute leadership of President Bio made an exponential improvement in that area that is plausible. Instead of staggering to maintain the last pass marks, Sierra Leone under the astute leadership of President Julius Maada Bio strived to improve on previous performances. For the third year in a row, the country passed the scorecard with aplomb improving on sectors it did not pass in previous years. You have to be too cynical or inordinately disingenuous to deny that we don’t as a country deserve the ratings we got. The MCC, like most global institutions, prides itself on integrity and fairness. Therefore, to even entertain any thought of lobby on the part of government of Sierra Leone or influence by friends of the government is a show of sawdust in the head.

There is no denying the facts as indicated by the scorecard, that under the adroit leadership of President Julius Maada Bio, we have jumped leaps and bounds to genuinely earn those scores. Only the blind would deny the fact that government has continued to invest in its human capital development programs and creating huge impact on the lives of the people of Sierra Leone.

President Bio launched the Free Quality School Education (FQSE) programme in August 2018. It benefits over 2.5 million pupils in government-owned and government-assisted pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools. Government has increased and sustained budgetary allocation to education to 22% in 2020 Appropriation Act or Budget. Government has bought buses to ease mobility for school pupils. In addition, in food insecure places, government provides food for pupils. That is both an attraction and retention policy. Given that huge investment in education, who would want to doubt the 92% score in the Primary Education Expenditures by the MCC? Or question, the 67% rating in the Girls Primary Completion Rate, Sierra Leone got from the MCC? You need to be at odds with yourself before even casting doubt on the rating.

If you’re a critic and want to doubt why the MCC rated us over 60% in Health Expenditures, you need to scratch beyond the surface. The President Julius Maada Bio government has increased budgetary allocations for health to 11% of public expenditure in 2021 from 6% in 2018. The President Bio administration has hired about 5,000 additional health care workers of all critical cadres to address the challenge of human resource gap in the sector. Government has launched the National Emergency Ambulance Services with 167 ambulances already repaired and put to use. 58 ambulances have been distributed and are actively used, plus one spare ambulance per district. As if that is not good enough, the President Bio led government has upgraded the Connaught Hospital with the completion and opening of a new emergency triage, the construction of the Maternal and Children’s Hospital at Hangha Road, Rokupa and Kenema, and the completion of the Makali Community Health Centre (CHC) that is provided with ultramodern equipment and a solar- mini-grid system. This government has strengthened disease prevention, surveillance and control through the launch of the One Health Approach. Concrete, practical steps have been taken by the government to strengthen the health system to earn us that rating.

In the Immunization Rating, we scored over 70%, and not without reason. Under our noses, we have seen government enhance vaccinations with the installation of 220 solar-powered fridges nationwide and 235 items of drugs worth US$2.9 million were distributed to every public health facility in the country in 2020 and additional procurement for beddings and uniforms for all public facilities and health workers.
That other areas that make sweet reading for the country are control of corruption, civil liberties, political rights, rule of law and freedom of information. The ratings in those areas are based on results on ground and felt all over, no matter how hard the spin doctors try. This is the first government that has made corruption unattractive and expensive, and the results are there for all to see. You only need to keep track of the number of cases the ACC is taking to the courts and how much money has been retrieved over the last three years, to convince yourself that the MCC rating is as accurate as it can be.

The repeal of the obnoxious criminal libel law and the death penalty put the icing on the cake and catapulted us to the 90% score we got in the area of Freedom of Information and good governance score respectively. The criminal libel law is a law that has been used for over 55 years to muzzle freedom of speech and information access. President Bio made it a campaign promise and has delivered on it, and the MCC executive is fully aware of the bold step and rated us that high.

Whilst there is growing disenchantment and repulsion of the main opposition APC’s lying tactics, President Bio’s government keeps winning hearts and minds with tangibles and practicable programs that have endeared more friends to Sierra Leone. In the minefields of this costly battle to lift us from the doldrums, the eventual winners are the people of Sierra Leone.

Photo: President Bio and David Reimer, the American ambassador to Sierra Leone, holding the current MCC scorecard for Sierra Leone.