Ernest Bai Koroma and the APC Fail Key US Millenium Challenge Corporation Tests
In a desperate bid to pass key governance and economic management evaluations, President Ernest Koroma had singularly appointed Caroline Thomas, a British National, to a special State House office to gather and manage data, massage figures, and do projections in order to insure that the APC government passes the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) test and qualify for a $340 million grant from the United States treasury.
But figures which will be released tomorrow, Wednesday, November7, by the independent United States foreign aid agency – the MCC - show that President Ernest Koroma has failed Sierra Leoneans.
ERNEST KOROMA’S ECONOMIC FAILURES EMPHASIZED.
Of great significance is Ernest Koroma’s failure to manage the economy by failing to control inflation (11%), poor fiscal policy (40% - mirroring International Monetary Fund and World Bank assessments that the Ernest Koroma government has failed Sierra Leoneans in the area of the managing the economy. The Oakland Institute’s concerns about the involvement of President Koroma and his key henchmen in shady land grab deals are reflected in Ernest Koroma’s failure in the critical indicator of land rights access – scoring only 33%. The report further pronounced that President Ernest Koroma and his All People’s Congress (APC) have consistently deceived Sierra Leoneans and the international community that his government is business friendly. In the key area of business start-ups, Ernest Koroma again failed with only 41%. More importantly, Ernest Koroma has also barely maintained a decent regulatory climate for investment in Sierra Leone and his government made an abysmal pass mark of 55%.
ERNEST KOROMA FAILS CHILDREN IN HEALTH AND HIS HEALTHCARE SPENDING IS A SHAM
Increased healthcare spending of 70% which is shown as a pass mark is NOT BECAUSE Ernest Koroma has allocated Sierra Leone government funds or pursued consistent healthcare funding policies but because international organizations have poured funds into the healthcare initiative. Even so, a series of financial scandals around the APC government’s poor handling of those foreign funds for healthcare stand out prominently. More important is the MCC’s strong indictment of Ernest Koroma’s very poor performance and his failure in the area of child health for which he scored only 11%.
Two other key areas of Ernest Koroma’s failure highlighted by the MCC is Ernest Koroma’s failure to protect natural resources for which he scores only 38%. Against the background of a series of scandals on forests and timber, iron ore, and the emerging shady deals surrounding the oil blocks, the MCC’s assessment of Ernest Koroma clearly points to his very poor handling of the country’s natural resources.
In his recent closing speech of parliament, President Ernest Koroma told Sierra Leoneans and the international community that he had invested heavily and therefore succeeded in the area of primary education. The MCC indicators point that he fails the overall primary education indicator with only 49% even after embellishing information presented to the MCC. The Girls primary education indicator over which President Ernest Koroma recently claims to have invested heavily barely squeaked through with a 57% pass mark.
POOR AND INEFFECTIVE GOVERNANCE
In the areas of ruling justly and good governance, the MCC indicts President Koroma for his government’s ineffectiveness scoring only 29%. This underlines various observations by international governance monitoring bodies about the size and complete lack of effectiveness in the APC government.
For a President who has stalled to pass the Freedom of Information law, the 78% result on the Freedom of Information indicator points tacitly to Ernest Koroma misrepresenting the extent to which the ordinary Sierra Leonean has access to government and public information.
Sierra Leoneans are broadly acknowledged for jealously protecting their political rights (84%) and civil liberties (85%).
The biggest shock to Sierra Leoneans are the figures for rule of law (55%) and control of corruption (53%) especially for a government seen widely by Sierra Leoneans as rabidly corrupt.
The results (although influenced by largely embellished figures by Ernest Koroma’s British appointee, Caroline Thomas) point to Ernest Koroma’s government barely passing in 11 core areas and failing the crucial 9 indicators in the core areas of economic freedom and investing in people. Clearly, Ernest Koroma has a very poor record on the economy, government effectiveness, and investing in people.
Beyond the publication of results tomorrow, Wednesday, November 11, the MCC Board will meet to crosscheck and accept results and only then decide whether to send an MCC director to Sierra Leone to cross-check President Ernest Koroma’s APC figures before deciding whether to fund poverty alleviation projects and schemes directly from US treasury funds.