Ministry of Transport and Aviation Roll-out the Government Vehicle Fleet Policy
BY MAHMOUD KAMARA
Bank of Sierra Leone Complex, Kingtom, Freetown Tuesday 22nd June, 2021 -The Ministry of Transport and Aviation Has Rolled-out the Government Vehicle Fleet Policy for Government officials geared towards safeguarding effective public financial management, good governance, prudent public assets management and effective service delivery as a way of fulfilling one of the macroeconomic aspirations in the “New Direction Government’’ of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio.
The Sierra Leone Vehicle Fleet Policy is designed to improve operational mobility and efficiency of Public Servants in their service delivery in a responsible and cost-effective manner.
In his welcome address, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Honourable Kabineh Kallon thanked all present and noted that the participation of all stakeholders present demonstrate how important the policy is to all as a Ministry and as Government Officials.
He emphasized that his Ministry is committed to providing the necessary guidance the policy requires.
He recalled that the policy was launched in 2020, after series of consultations with Senior Government Officials and other relevant stakeholders with the primary objective to reduce Government expenditure on the management of Government vehicles.
He said that the roll-out is another step ahead by creating the platform to have a better understanding of the process and set the wheels in motion for implementation.
In his opening remarks, the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications who doubles as the Chairperson of the programme, Honourable Solomon Jamiru emphasized that the Government of Sierra Leone is committed to design a policy framework that optimizes the management and use of government vehicles for the benefit of all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies(MDAs).He added that projects and programs of government are been initiated with a view to promoting effective and efficient service delivery across the country.
In his own statement, the Financial Secretary Sahr Jusu explained that recently, financial records have shown that, for the longest time, the Sierra Leone Government has not only suffered enormous costs of acquiring vehicles for official use, but also in running and maintaining the fleet.
He maintained that this policy is geared towards reducing capital, maintenance, and running costs, minimize wastages, and the misuse of government vehicles, adding that the policy would ensure that government officials use the most appropriate and cost effective modes of transportation for effective service delivery.
In his keynote address, the Chief Minister Honourable Jacob Jusu Saffa said that it is fitting that the Ministry of Transport and Aviation has developed an efficient and effective Government Vehicle Fleet Policy (VFP) in sync. with other relevant stakeholders, adding that the policy would safeguard effective public financial management, good governance, prudent public assets management and effective service delivery as a way of fulfilling one of the macroeconomic aspirations in the “New Direction Government “of focusing on “...Prudent Public Expenditure Management...” as a manifesto promise made by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio.
“The Government Vehicles fleet policy, we are about to roll-out encapsulates the whole objectives of Prudent Public Expenditure Management ‘’ Chief Minister maintained.
He said that the importance of vehicles to effective and efficient functioning of Government cannot be overemphasized. He further pointed out that evidently, correspondent cost to fleet operations can be huge if not well controlled or managed by government.
The Secretary to Cabinet and Head of Civil Service, John Sumaliah maintained that the consultation process of the formulation of the Government Vehicle Fleet Policy started as far back as 2019.
He noted that the Government Fleet Vehicle Policy has two major components which are the Vehicle Loan Scheme which would increase accessibility of vehicles for Government officials. He added that the second component is the Pool Vehicle System to fulfill the operational demands of all MDAs that would address the transportation problems of other members of the civil service that could not afford to buy a vehicle through the loan scheme.
He maintained that this policy the first ever, will map-out a clear framework for the Acquisition, Use and Disposal of Government vehicles.
In his Presentation on “the National Fleet Policy “and “the Application process of the Loan Scheme”, the Director of Transport and Aviation, Hindolo Shiaka highlighted the need for the Government Vehicle Fleet Policy, Design and Implementation. He explained the background of the loan scheme, the scheme eligibility, the scheme loan repayment, the scheme higher repayment amounts, the early payoff of balance, and the expected economic benefits of the Vehicle Loan Scheme.
He further pointed out the challenges the Government of Sierra Leone is faced with in the current management of its vehicles.
He maintained that the principal objective of this policy, therefore, is to reduce expenditure on the management of Government vehicles by adopting a revolutionary arrangement such as the Government Vehicle Loan Scheme for its employees.
He said that the Vehicle Loan Scheme will apply to Government officials in Grade 10 and above, Heads of state-owned enterprises, Corporations and other state functionaries.
Director maintained that the successful implementation of this policy needs the unflinching support of all stakeholders at all times. Therefore, it is expected that all MDAs invest an ardent interest in adhering to the provisions of the policy in so far as it relates to Government Vehicle Fleet Management.
He concluded by stating that to enhance adherence, the Policy clearly spells out guidelines in ensuring that Government vehicles, during use for delivering public services, are managed effectively and efficiently.