Public Sector Reform Unit

Office of the President, 8 Wesley Street, Freetown


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The Government of Sierra Leone recognizes that one of the main problems plaguing the country and constraining its economic and social development is the weak and deteriorating capacity of the public service of Sierra Leone over the years. The protracted civil war in Sierra Leone did not only destroy the pre-war institutional and human resource capacities in the civil and public services but also significantly hampered human capital development and institutional development which are required for effective post-war reconstruction and national development. Over the years during and after the civil war the public sector in Sierra Leone has suffered progressive depletion of skilled manpower in the middle level cadre of professional and technical staff. Chronically low and deteriorating remunerations and poor working conditions, including outmoded systems, structures and business processes continued to constitute obstacles to the public sector’s ability to attract the necessary skills for the effective delivery of public services. There have been extensive and prolonged consultations both within Government and between Government and development partners on strategies for turning this situation around and improving performance in the public service. Several interventions were attempted along those lines during the past decade, but these have been diffuse and uncoordinated with less than optimal impact. Due to the government’s fiscal constraint, one approach resolving the acute capacity constraint was to augment public sector skills with local technical assistants on special remuneration and conditions of service. This approach has been seen to be unsustainable in the long run and to undermine efforts at comprehensive, holistic reforms. It ended up perpetuating itself and resulted in a two-tier public sector recruitment and remuneration system, with a resulting discord within the public sector, especially the civil service.