His Excellency the President
Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma
RE: CHRDI OPEN LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT ERNEST BAI KOROMA ON CONCERNS ABOUT HIS GOVERNMENT’S AUSTERITY PLANS
Dear Mr. President,
We in Campaign for Human Rights and Development International-CHRDI are writing to you out of the concern that your Government’s policy on finances continue to dominate public debate largely based on the conviction that your government’s policy measures put in place to tackle the economic slowdown has failed.
His Excellency sir, 409 days ago, you established the Cabinet sub-committee, which comprised of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, Minister of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED), Minister of State 1, MoFED, Secretary to the President, and Governor and Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, in order to facilitate the full implementation of the austerity measures or expenditure rationalisation (as your spokesmen decide to call it) plan. His Excellency sir, we are aware that so far, the majority of Sierra Leoneans have said and are still saying that they are not seeing a recovery.
Therefore we would be grateful if your office could provide us information on the successes of the six-month expenditure rationalization and domestic revenue mobilization plans that your government said it was going to implement.
Sir, we would also like to bring to your notice the fact that during the implementation of your expenditure rationalisation plan, Health and social care services in Sierra Leone were and are still encountering huge challenges.
We have information that services are being reduced, targets are missed and people are struggling to get the vital health and care support that they need in health care centres and hospitals across the country. We also understand that many MDAs failed to comply with the austerity measures plan.
We in CHRDI strongly believe that Sierra Leone needs a stable macroeconomic environment.
To achieve that, the country needs to focus on making the most out of the Structural Funds and significantly increase support to livelihoods.
We believe that the Government of Sierra Leone should be thinking seriously about creating the conditions to exit the austerity measures or expenditure rationalisation plan and focus on strengthening the livelihoods of poor Sierra Leoneans once and for all
To conclude, we would like you to seriously consider the fact that austerity measures often lead to retrogression in the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights because cuts to public spending on programmes that benefit the poor can impact rights to education, health, food, water and social security. Economic and social rights are as much a part of human rights as civil and political rights.
We in the CHRDI are looking forward to hearing from you on the concerns we have raised above at your earliest convenience.
Counting on your usual cooperation.
Abdul M. Fatoma