BY MAYOR YVONNE AKI-SAWYERR
It was a pleasure to today receive the visiting IMF Delegation led by Mission Chief Sukhwinder Singh and IMF Country Representative Monique Newiak. Recognizing that Freetown accounts for 30% of Sierra Leone’s GDP, we had extensive discussions around the multi-sectoral, data-driven and inclusive approach of the #TransformFreetown agenda. I explained how, because of a commitment to transparency and accountability, FCC reports on progress made against its 19 targets in the annual publications of the Transform Freetown report. I was pleased to use this opportunity to present to the delegation a copy of the Transform Freetown Overview and the First Year, Second Year and Third Year Reports.
Our discussions also covered the innovative digital property reforms introduced at FCC in 2020; the MOPTAX system is now being promoted as a model for other cities in Africa. I stressed the importance of revenue collection for effective service delivery and explained how 20% of revenue collected by wards can now be ring fenced for direct expenditure in those wards. The ongoing construction of the three story market in Wilberforce Village is an example of property rate collection being put to use for residents as is the daily sweeping of our city’s streets.
Today’s discussions covered a range of other subjects including the urgent need for consistent climate action. FCC is planting, monitoring and digitally tracking 1m trees through the #FreetownTheTreeTown initiative whilst we are witnessing ongoing massive deforestation of millions of trees nationally due to the sale of protected forests for housing and unfettered timber logging. Climate change and home grown environmental destruction are major risks to our economic growth and consistent action to effectively address these challenges is required. I was joined at the meeting by the Chief Administrator and the Mayor’s Delivery Team Lead.