By Janet Sesay
The National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) yesterday held a press conference to brief the media on the new NaCSA Act and Mandate that was passed into law by Parliament on 7th November 2019.
Speaking to the press, the Commissioner of NaCSA, Abu Bockarie Kokofele, stated that the Commission was established in 1996 as a government Ministry known as the Ministry of National Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation with broad mandates to respond to the immediate humanitarian crisis that emanated from the civil war and to handle the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants.
He said this Ministry could not cope with the degree of urgency required for delivering humanitarian services because of bureaucratic procedures typical of the civil service in government ministries.
He informed the press that at the expiration of its mandate in November 2001, the Commission was restructured and renamed the National Commission for Social Action through an Act of Parliament and this period, he said, coincided with the official end of the war.
He said the commission got its new mandates to provide and engage in social relief programmes, to promote community based demand and sustainable development activities leading to the alleviation of poverty, and also improve on the speed of quality and impact of development initiatives in cooperation with Non-Governmental Organizations, relevant Ministries, private sector partners and other interested parties.
He said on Thursday 7th November 2019, Parliament passed the new National Commission for Social Action Act 2019 into law and with this new act, the Commission is solemnly supervised under the Office of the Vice President.
Commissioner Kokofele furthered that the commission has the ability to manage inclusive programming initiatives which create room for multi-sector approach to development and that this initiative is currently trending in many developing countries globally.
He noted that this is why successive governments maintained the wisdom of keeping the supervision of NaCSA under the presidency but in the new direction administration, it has pleased the President to delegate some of his key functions to his Vice President.
He explained that the reason for this is to boost efficiency and effectiveness in the commission, to make the Office of the Vice President increasingly active beyond the usual ceremonies and to decongest state house, among others.
The Commissioner continued that in order to sustain donors’ confidence and interest, government requires an autonomous, transparent and accountable institution like the commission which overcomes the excessive bureaucratic challenges that usually characterize Ministries.
He said they exist like any other institution that is permanent and the value addition of this commission is with their legal standing and there is a huge potential that this status will attract increased donor attention and therefore increase funding.
He added that after the act has been passed in Parliament, the Vice President stated that this new act of the commission will now attract increased budget allocation to NaCSA and to be able to reach out to the poor people across the country, saying that the New Direction government has already demonstrated it by ratifying the act and that government has increased its budget allocation to slightly over ten billion Leones as support to community development projects.
NaCSA has been supported by donor funds and most of their activities will likely be donor funded but government itself will now own and step up supporting this project.
He furthered that NaCSA act has been expanded to cover lots of lives during the war and other crises in the country and in fact their mandates has not changed except that now they are focusing more on community given development, initiatives and poverty alleviations but they still have the mandate to respond to emergency situation like conflict, natural disasters like Ebola and landslide situation and NaCSA was very much present in supporting victims during that time.
He said the commission will be flexible and swift to ensure that they respond to people during emergencies as the commission was very visible during the immediate post-war years, and now that they have a new mandate, they will ensure that development can be in every area in the country, especially the poor relocated areas.
He said he has travelled through the length and breadth of the country to see how work in the field was done and in almost every district he visited he found NaCSA’s foot print everywhere, some districts have water wells, some schools, some market centre , health centre, head communities and cultural support to community and also the commission support towards cocoa and coffee plantations and this shows that the commission has worked extensively good over the years.
He said the challenges they are facing now is on road rehabilitation especially when they have constructed feeder roads in the provinces, some big trucks destroy the roads but with this new mandate, they would create lots of youth employment on road construction and feeder road maintenance, and with that new mandate they will be able to have increased funds to help in that area and also to reach their goals.
By Janet Sesay