The Ministry supervises two major Projects, and hosts their implementation units. The Infrastructure Development Project is a World Bank -funded project for road development. These include major highways such as the Bo-Kenema Highway and the Makeni-Matotoka Highway, feeder roads, runway at Lungi International Airport, as well as infrastructural work at the SLPA. The second project is the ICF-funded Airport Transfer Project, providing infrastructural development at the Lungi Airport, as well building jetties and a helipad.
The MTA, like other Ministries, is led by the Minister who is the political head, with the Permanent Secretary serving as the administrative head and Vote Controller. Technically, it is the latter that is responsible for the running of the Ministry, including proper financial management. However, as the strategic leader of the Ministry responsible for ensuring that the national development goals are translated into workable strategies, the Minister is also held accountable for the success or failure of the Ministry. To prevent functional duplicity it is necessary that the roles of both the PS and the Minister are clear and that each position comes with specific targeted deliverables. The performance contracts that Ministers sign provide some guidance in this regard and once the PS and their senior management personnel are placed on a similar performance management system, planning and service delivery will improve dramatically.
Functionally the Ministry is unique in that it is not divided into Administrative and Professional wings. Rather, it has only an Administrative section headed by the PS, and comprising personnel from that cadre including a deputy secretary, two senior assistant secretaries, an executive officer, clerks, drivers and messenger posts. The absence of professional posts was noted by the review team; it was attributed to the fact that the Ministry only plays a regulatory and oversight role over the eight technical semi-autonomous agencies. The organogram in Appendix 2 illustrates the current organizational structure. The lack of capacity in the Ministry is such that it performs only the most basic supervisory role; this role is limited to senior staff serving as representatives on the various Boards. The review team could only gather minimal information in terms of the level of interaction the Ministry has with the agencies under its supervision, and virtually no information as to the sectoral priorities. This information vacuum is very much an indication of the limited strategic and technical capacity and focus. It is important that the Ministry have technical staff for policymaking and analysis, monitoring, as well as administration. To this end, we recommend implementation of an organizational structure that incorporates the missing technical functions, as illustrated in Appendix 3. The new structure will be divided according to the following functions;
This division will consolidate all support functions of the Ministry including personnel management and human resource development; financial management/accounting including budget formulation, expenditure monitoring and control compliance with financial regulations; records management
Planning and Policy Division
This division will perform the core strategic and policy formulation functions in the Ministry. It will strengthen the Ministry’s capability to better co-ordinate transport planning and monitor policy and developments in the transport sector, including the work of the agencies under the Ministry’s aegis.
The functions highlighted in Appendix 4 are meant to serve as a guide in developing comprehensive TORs for the positions in the Planning and Policy Division.
National Transport Coordinating Committee (NTCC)
In order to enhance its supervisory role and to improve policy analysis and data collection, we recommend the establishment of a permanent Steering Committee, meeting several times a year, that will serve the following functions;
Provide a regular forum for formal consultation between the MTA and all government and non-governmental agencies in the transport sector
Provide a regular forum for formal consultation between the NCP and agencies in the transport sector
Recommend sectoral priorities to be addressed by the Cabinet
Preparation and endorsement of sector strategies and work plans
The Permanent Secretary is the Vote-Controller and Chairman of the Procurement Committee. He is supervised by the Minister. As the Vote-Controller, the Permanent Secretary supervises the Accounts Section and is part of the approval process for budgets and procurements. The Government Budget and Accountability Act (GBAA) of 2005 Section 20 (2) requires each Ministry to establish a Budget Committee, which has responsibility for budget planning, and an Internal Audit Unit. Section 23 (b) of the GBAA requires the adoption of a Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) process for budget planning which calls for the development of a strategic plan by each Ministry. Until the advent of this directive, the process of budget planning was the sole preserve of the Permanent Secretary who assents the Ministry of Finance’s Budget Circulars. Budgeting is a continuous activity and as such we recommend that a Budget Committee is formed and that this Committee meets at least twice in each quarter to review the finances. As such, we recommend that the Accountant-General’s Department deploy an Accountant and an Accounting Assistant to the Ministry. We further recommend that the Ministry request an Internal Auditor from the Audit Services.
In line with the Procurement Act, the Ministry has set up a Procurement Committee chaired by the PS, and including the Deputy Secretary, Snr. Assistant Secretaries and Accountant. This Committee plays a large role in the Ministry since they are responsible for procuring through national and international bidding, vehicles for Government offices. In fact, the review team was informed that over 90 percent of the Ministry’s budget goes towards this activity. Given the complex procurement duties of the Ministry, it is vital that its Procurement Committee is guided by professionals in this field. We therefore recommend that a Procurement Unit comprising two qualified Procurement Officers and three assistants is set up. This permanent unit will not only develop procurement plans for the Ministry, but will also be able to maintain the asset registry that will inform efficient supply of government vehicles to all MDAs.