The Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service (SCHOCS), Dr. Ernest Surrur is a household/legendary name in the public/civil service of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Many people described him as a Legendry Legend and a successful public/civil servant who has done so much and still doing more and more. He is said to be a man with vast experience and knowledge in the public/civil service landscape of the country.
This was clearly demonstrated/illustrated in his advice he gave to the members of the 19 Local Councils at the programme for the training of 19 Local Councils on the Revised Strategic Planning Template consistent with the policy objectives in the Agenda for Prosperity, organized by the MoFED -Budget Bureau, at the J & E Resort in Bo City, Southern Province, Sierra Leone, on Saturday 26th. September, 2015.
In his opening statement Dr. Surrur said: "I want to give you one or two advice based on my experience. The development of the country has been handed over to you all - the Mayors, Chief Administrators, Accountants, Accountants and so on. Monies are sent to you with the expectation that these monies will be utilized for the benefit of the people. Monies should be spent on areas where you spend little money, but create great impacts. Our people are not asking for too much all they want is the basic necessities of life such as shelter, food, transportation, etc. These are your own responsibilities to provide for your people.
Normally, achievement of objectives depends on planning. If you plan well you will achieve your plan, if you do not plan well it means you have planned to fail. This is the reason why you are here because a lot of people, when they do not have the money , they have a lot of plans but as soon as the money comes they forget about all their plans and bring in new ideas. The people out there do not understand how this happens but they expect this to happen. They expect you to provide the services to them. Provide the services to the people when they are not asking for them. If you wait for the people to ask, sometimes it goes with a cost such as riots or destruction of property. That is when the people are angry because they waited for too long and they have lost patient, because they know you can do it and you refused to do it".
"If your area is not is not developed , we know who should be held responsible for not developing the area because you have all that it takes: capacity, intellectual, etc., you have it all. Local councils should be able to mobilize resources, if you really want to do that. I been up-country for over 13 years working in different places. There is no place in the world where development can take place without taxation, which means we have to look at the laws to see which one we can amend to ensure that they give us the authority to mobilize local resources including rates for houses. You can decide the rates in the city for yourselves when you come together to deliberate issues in your meetings. Some people pay local tax but the amount of money is so minimal that you cannot depend on it. You should go back to the drawing board and decide what extent of taxation your people can accommodate", he pointed out.
"The important thing is whatever little money you get from the central Government , you have to align that budget with your plan. What do you intend to do with this money? You have to put it in a plan and work out a strategy. You have to put in place a proper monitoring mechanism to ensure that you implement this strategic plan according to the plan, except with minors because nothing is fixed. You have to make some adjustments but you have to make sure that as much as possible to stay with your plan. Once you have a good plan and you go by it you will definitely achieve positive results. Because by your plan you will know what you will be able to achieve within a particular period, amount of money and number and type of personnel you need. If you do not have a good plan you will never be able to achieve your objectives ", he adds.
Dr. Surrur admonished the 19 Local Councils to take this matter seriously: "Think about the suffering of the people, think about what you can do with their resources, that can bring happiness to them. You must have a legacy programme. People have full confidence in you and given you this responsibility, so within the period you serve them, you have to leave a legacy that they can assess you on, when you want to make a comeback in the future. Once you have that in mind you will and you work towards that the sky will not be your limit , you will go beyond the sky to heaven".
By: Musa Conteh, Information Officer, CABSEC