CABINET SECRETARIAT BUDGET ACCEPTED BY STAKEHOLDERS

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The  CABSEC FY 2016-18 Budget was presented for and on behalf of the Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service- (SCHOCS), Dr. Ernest Surrur; by the Assistant to the Secretary to the Cabinet and Director of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Samuel Camillo Bangura.

Mr. Bangura in his presentation structured on the following: core vision, constitutional mandate, strategic objectives, policy objectives, core activities, support activities, successes, challenges and strategic aspirations.” CABSEC has a unique mandate within the public service governance system in that it is not only supports the decision-making function of the Cabinet, but that its head also serves as Head of the Civil Service. This role duality, functions across the strategic high-level  policy making cycle to the day-to-day operationalization of the programmes and strategies by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). The strategic objective of the CABSEC is to support the Cabinet’s decision-making role in government by enhancing the quality of information, consistency in policy formulation, through evidence based policy development, and to ensure the effective implementation of government policies and the smooth running of government through leadership, effective coordination, supervision and oversight of the Civil Service”, he says.

 He stated that in 2014, the Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, Dr.  Ernest Surrur, initiated a restructuring  of the Cabinet Secretariat to address the myriad of problems including the lack of adequate resources, staffing and the failure to embrace change in a dynamic and evolving public sector environment. Significantly also, poor data management infrastructure and poor IT systems compromised the security of sensitive government data and hindered public accessibility. One of the key symptoms of this stagnation was the marked exclusion of the CabSec in the post-conflict governance reforms despite it being a strategic public sector leader as illustrated by its Constitutional mandate, as enshrined in sub-section 68(1) of the Sierra Leone Constitution Act No. 6 of 1991. As a result of Challenges, the CabSec’s capacity to deliver on its mandate was very limited and some of its critical functions remained dormant or were usurped by emerging or exist institutions.

At the FY 2016-18 MTEF Bilateral Budget Discussion, Mr. Bangura identified the need for a sufficient budget  allocation to make CabSec more effective and efficient. “Lack of sufficient resources affects the performance and service delivery of the CabSec. The CabSec  as it restructures its structures, work processes, and systems to strengthen its capacity for undertaking its strategic mandate in the public service. The major aspect of the reforms is the review and revision of the Cabinet Manual, for strengthening the processes and procedures for submission of Memoranda, deliberations by Committees, and monitoring of Cabinet  decisions”, he adds.

Dr. Augustine Kembe Stevens, Head of  Cabinet Implementation and Monitoring Support Unit-(CIMSU) proffered an explanation of how and why the Cabinet Secretariat should be provided with sufficient resources.

CabSec’s  Accountant, Mr. Alie  Bangura, highlighted the kaleidoscopic nature of the CabSec work / activities which include/consist of the following (to name but a few): Preparation of necessary documents for the appointment of Ministers, Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers; Production of Cabinet Memoranda and Conclusions and the printing and binding of all such memoranda and conclusions into volumes; Revision and reproduction of the revised Cabinet Manual and the guides for Ministers, Political Appointees and Public/Civil Servants; Establish an ICT system coupled with a database hub to house all Cabinet documents in conformity; Study visits to other to other countries; induction/training for Ministers, Ministers of State, Deputy Ministers and other key Government operatives on Cabinet processes and procedures; Conduct training programmes for all CabSec staff on ICT at regular intervals; Conduct training sessions for Cabinet Focal Persons in MDAs; Assessment of Senior Civil Servants in the IPAS process(Grade 11 and above); Printing and binding of Cabinet Secretariat Annual Report; Assemble and distribute compendium of all responsibilities charged to Ministries emanating from consideration of policy proposals in Memoranda submitted by Ministers; Undertake regular assessment of the Status of implementation of Cabinet Decisions by MDAs, engaging Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Professional Heads and Cabinet Focal Persons; Undertake fieldtrips to project locations and participate-observe’ programmes emanating from Cabinet deliberations and decisions; Prepare quarterly and end of year reports on the status of the implementation of Cabinet Decisions; and Print and bind all reports produced for submission to His Excellency the President(through the Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service.

Mr. Amadu Sidi Bah, National Coordinator for the Non-State Actors-(NSA) says he is impressed with the CabSec  FY 2016-18 MTEF Budget Presentation.”I am impressed with the fact that you have been able to outline clear goals that you are looking forward to…”, he said.