The Port Loko District Council
The overall staffing capacity summed up to 14 Core Staff and 22 support staff. The Core Staff are paid from the consolidated funds while the support staffs rely on council generated revenues for salaries. The Chairman is the head of entity supported by the Chief Administrator who advise on technical decision concerning administration and general operations of Council. The Chief Administrator supervises the professional staff of Council and also serves as the vote controller ensuring prudent management of resources for both council and the devolved grants. The local governance system in Sierra Leone has its legal framework in the Local Government Act of 2004. The Act was an important initiative by government to establish the legal framework and associated regulations for political, fiscal, and administrative decentralization. The in essence provides a robust foundation for the establishment of decentralization through devolution of key functions to local councils. The accompanying regulations provided a simple and easily understood system for intergovernmental transfers (Srivastava and Larizza, 2011). Decentralization in Sierra Leone has been in operation for over a decade. According to the authors, there is currently a functioning decentralization system in place and local councils are now fully staffed. In all the 21 local and municipal councils, there are now core staff members of development planners, internal auditors, monitoring and evaluation officers, and procurement officers amongst others with requisite capacity for managing their service delivery functions (Srivastava and Larizza, 201:141)
In the decentralization process in Sierra Leone and within the context of improving governance and service delivery in the country, is the fact that the Statutory Instrument to the Local Governance Act of 2004 known also as the Assumptions of Functions Regulations No. 13 of November 2004 did not only established the then nineteen (19) Municipal and District Councils which is now twenty one (21) Councils but clearly set the stage as to how the local councils were to be constituted. The Statutory Instrument also defined the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders, established the guidelines as to how to plan the development of their localities and how among others these plans should be financed. In addition, the statutory Instrument also clearly articulated the functions to be devolved to the local councils during the transition period 2004 – 2008.
Initially 86 functions were scheduled to have been devolved to Council but unfortunately only 54 fu8nctions have been devolved which comprise the Education, Health, Agriculture, Social Welfare, Youths and Sport, Water Resources among others.
The reasons for the sanil pace of decentralization cannot be unconnected to the lack of strong political will from previous government to ensure full devolution. But with the New Direction, carefully listened to the speech of the President Bio on the state opening of parliament ,there is hope for a positive turn around in the decentralization and cycle of local governance.
Amidst all of these challenges, Port Loko District Council with support from both the Administrative and Political Arms of Council continue to make breakthrough in provision of basic essential services such as Health, Education and Agriculture. Many will argue that with the reestablishment of Local Councils of which Port Loko District is not an exception, there had been remarkably gains in infrastructural, roads, water, Education, Health and Agriculture.
The Port Loko District Council played pivotal role in the constriction of tar mac roads in Port Loko Town, electricity supply, constriction of District Educational Office for both Education and Social Welfare, rehabilitation of several schools, renovation of the maternity unit at the Port Loko Government Hospital and other community health centers. Above all Council has pioneered series of interventions from donors notably the EU Project of recent which aimed at reviewing the District Development Plan, strengthening capacity of local authorities, chiefdom functionaries and mobilization of own source revenues for effective and efficient service delivery.
In furtherance, the Council continues to create a social platform through its ordinary Council sitting where Councilors give accounts of their stewardship and Council administration explains how the manage public monies. It adds to the fact that one of the objective of decentralization was to bring services closer to the door steps of the ordinary man, promote inclusion in decision making and ensure transparency and good governance.
In conclusion, there are huge revenue potentials in the district which Council intends to explore given that revenue generation has not been encouraging over the years and that is not only limited to Port Loko but local Councils as whole. Moving forward to 2019. Port Loko District Council is set to harness more revenue for development because central government cannot do it all alone. We should note that financial independence has been a nightmare for all local Councils hence huge over dependence on central government for funding.
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