Foriegn Aid Transparency (SL0013)
Action Plan: Sierra Leone National Action Plan 2016-2018
Action Plan Cycle: 2016
Lead Institution: Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
Support Institution(s): DACO, Anti Corruption Commission; Society for Democratic Initiative Budget Advocacy Network Non State Actor Federation SLANGO INGO forum
Policy AreasAid, Civic Space, E-Government, Fiscal Transparency, Freedom of Association, Health, Open Data, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery, Records Management
Status quo or problem/ issue to be addressed
A number of donor, INGO and NGOs do receive funds on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone to implement various activities geared towards providing service for the citizen. However, the citizens do not know the amount of resources and for what purpose these institutions receive funds on their behalf. Donors are funding different aid projects in Sierra Leone. Many of these projects are implemented unbeknownst to the government, which struggles to capture information about the diverse and competing initiatives in the country.
Increase transparency of aid for efficient and effective use of resources
Brief Description of Commitment (140 character limit)
Donor, NGO, INGO and CSOs will publish funds meant for the post Ebola recovery online and in an open data format. Also annual district meeting will be held for donors, INGO, NGOs and CSOs to disclose funds meant for that particular district and detailed activity level budget shared
IRM Midterm Status Summary
Donor, NGO, INGO and CSOs will publish funds meant for the post Ebola recovery online and in an open data format. Also, annual district meeting will be held for donors, INGO, NGOs and CSOs to disclose funds meant for that particular district and detailed activity level budget shared.
Milestones: DACO to publish details donor fund meant for the post Ebola recovery online according to the standard established by the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and the on the open data portal including activity level budget. INGOs and NGOs to publish details of donor funds meant for the post Ebola recovery online according to the standard established by the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and the on the open data portal including activity level budget. Donor, INGOs and NGOs hold annual District public meetings to disclose fund meant for that particular district and for what purpose and detail activity-level budget shared. Donor publish all funds that go directly into the national budget according to the IATI Standard.
Responsible institution: Development Assistance Coordinating Office (DACO), Anti Corruption Commission
Supporting institution(s): Society for Democratic Initiatives, Budget Advocacy Network, Sierra Leone Association of Non-governmental Organisations, Federation.
Start date: July 2016 End date: June 2018
Context and Objectives
Sierra Leone receives millions of US dollars in international aid each year.[Note57: UNDP, Aid Coordination and Poverty Reduction, http://www.sl.undp.org/content/sierraleone/en/home/operations/projects/poverty_reduction/aid-coordination-and-poverty-reduction.html] To promote transparency of donor funds, the government joined the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) in 2012 committing to following the publishing standards. Further donor transparency efforts were taken in 2013, when the government began hosting the Development Assistance Database (DAD).[Note58: Development Assistance Database (DAD), http://dad.synisys.com/dadsierraleone/#] DAD is an online database that provides an overview of all donor projects including amount, donor and project information.[Note59: DAD contract signed for Sierra Leone, https://www.synisys.com/dad-contract-signed-for-sierra-leone/] Despite these efforts, in 2015 Transparency International published concerns over corruption related to the influx of Ebola-related funding.[Note60: Transparency International, Ebola: Corruption and Aid, https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/ebola_corruption_and_aid ] A detailed report in 2017 from Oxfam highlighted civil society organisations’ desires for more access to information in an easy-to-understand way.[Note61: Oxfam, Transparency is more than dollars and cents, https://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/transparency-is-more-than-dollars-and-cents-an-examination-of-informational-nee-620330] According to a representative of a civil society organisation involved with government budget and public finance issues, there is still a lack of transparency that hampers development planning and allocations of resources; and limits citizens’ ability to exert accountability.[Note62: Contribution of the representative of Citizens Budget Watch at the stakeholder meeting of 20 October 2017. ]
In an effort to address the transparency issues with donor funding for Ebola, this commitment aims to publish Ebola-related donor funds and host public meetings with various donors. Since some of these activities had started and two of the foreseen milestones were completed prior to the action plan, the commitment would have a moderate impact on making sure that foreign aid specific to Ebola is used more effectively and efficiently.
Two activities under this commitment were completed prior to the start of the action plan. According to officials of the department, DACO asked donor agencies and international non-governmental agencies to proactively upload their development assistance data on the Development Assistance Data (DAD) website.[Note63: IRM researcher’s interview of a group of DACO officials, 3 November 2017. ] However, donor project information has been published on DAD since the website launch in 2013. Despite having sections to detail key performance indicators, many project profiles are blank with no updated information outside of the funding source, dates and amounts.
When reviewing the Ebola-specific project funds in DAD, project histories show profile creation dates ranging from as early as January 2015 to as recent as July 2017. This is evidence that actions for these commitments began prior to the start of the action plan.
DACO officials did not conduct public donor meetings and were unaware of any efforts, stating that this commitment was not their responsibility.[Note64: IRM researcher’s interview of a group of DACO officials, 3 November 2017.] According to the OGP coordinator, the Budget Bureau of the Ministry of Finance provided information at meetings in the various districts of the country to disclose use of development assistance funds. According to the OGP coordinator, these public meetings have been held quarterly.[Note65: IRM researcher’s interview of OGP Coordinator, 11 December 2017.] There is no publicly available evidence to indicate that donors had published their contributions to the government budget as intended in the last milestone.
Early Results (if any)
The researcher could not ascertain any early results that could be attributed to the implementation of the commitment. Although a number of international development agencies publish information on their websites and DACO hosts the DAD website, none of the civil society participants at a stakeholder meeting could tell where one could get information on foreign aid.[Note66: Contribution of the representative of Citizens Budget Watch at the stakeholder meeting of 20 October 2017.] None of the civil society participants at a stakeholder meeting held by the researcher had ever used the DAD website despite its existence since 2013.[Note67: Ibid.]
The IRM researcher recommends to carry this commitment forward in the next action plan and make efforts to identify ways that the Development Assistance Data (DAD) website could become more accessible to civil society and increase the likelihood of use.
•Consider changes to the DAD website to make it more user-friendly.
•Given the accountability issues with programme implementation, future Ebola-related commitments should include activities that track progress on projects to ensure deliverables are being met and funds are used for their original intents.
•The responsibility should be on government to get aid information from donors and international non-governmental organisations and put it out to the public online and in print, in formats that are easier to understand.
Sierra Leone's Commitments
SL0012, 2016, Capacity Building
Foriegn Aid Transparency
SL0013, 2016, Aid
SL0014, 2016, Capacity Building
Fiscal Transparency and Open Budget
SL0015, 2016, E-Government
SL0016, 2016, Audits and Controls
SL0017, 2016, Capacity Building
SL0018, 2016, E-Government
Record Archive Management
SL0019, 2016, E-Government
Access to Justice
SL0020, 2016, Capacity Building
Open Public Procurement Contracting
SL0021, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions
Publish and Revise 70% of Mining and Agricultural Lease Agreements and Contracts
SL0009, 2014, E-Government
Right to Access Information Law
SL0010, 2014, Capacity Building
Open Data Portal for Transparency in Fiscal and Extractive Transactions
SL0011, 2014, E-Government
Public Integrity Pact with 5 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies
SL0001, 2014, Conflicts of Interest
Archives and Records Management Act
SL0002, 2014, E-Government
Scale Up Performance Management and Service Delivery Directorate
SL0003, 2014, Public Participation
Compliance with Audit Measures
SL0004, 2014, Audits and Controls
Single Treasure Account
SL0005, 2014, Extractive Industries
Extractive Industry Revenue Act
SL0006, 2014, Extractive Industries
Scaling Up Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives
SL0007, 2014, Extractive Industries
Local Content Policy (LCP) Linkages with MDAs
SL0008, 2014, Capacity Building