BACKGROUND TO THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION
The Ministry is one of the oldest Ministries of the Government of Sierra Leone dating back to the colonial period. It was established to gather and disseminate information on Government activities and programmes. In 2007, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was renamed “The Ministry of Information and Communication” in a bid to widen its scope and activities to include ICT. Following this development, the Ministry was re-branded, its scope widened and activities regenerated to include Information, Communications and Technology. With the emergence of ICT as the engine of growth in modern day economy, the Ministry has grown in scope and importance.
The Ministry is the primary stakeholder of ICT related policies and is tasked with overseeing the development, review and implementation of the Government’s information and communication agenda. The Ministry has mandated the preparation of ICT Policy document and is responsible for its regular review and update.
As Government business and the need for increased service delivery grew, the capacity of the Ministry to effectively perform the expanded functions became questionable. New institutions and management structures had to be developed, resulting in the hiving-off of some of the functions originally performed by the Ministry. Despite this shift, the Ministry still maintains an outdated structure that does not reflect its current operational functions, and therefore considerably impedes its efficiency. We recognize this shift in function and the existing structure, and have accordingly recommended an organogram reflecting the mandate of the current Ministry of Information and Communications.
Associated with the structural incongruity is the problem of lack of human resource capacity in the Ministry. This has been compounded by the recent addition of new units to the existing Ministry. Implicitly, effective management and development of the human resource capital remains one of the major challenges faced by the Ministry. It lacks a comprehensive structural organogram, personnel deployment plan, and training plan.
“To provide the people of Sierra Leone with reliable and timely public information; promote the development of information and communications infrastructure; and ensure the availability of accessible, efficient, reliable and affordable ICT services with the purpose of enhancing the quality of life of the people of Sierra Leone and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
To transform Sierra Leone into a competitive and prosperous country, through the development, expansion and innovative use of information and communications technologies.
The Ministry draws its mandate from Section 56 of the Constitution (referring to the Assignment of Responsibilities to Ministers and the President) and by the Gazette 2002. There is separate legislation for Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) now the Sierra Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), Sierra Leone Postal Service Ltd (SALPOST) and Sierra Leone Telecommunications Company Ltd (SIERRATEL) all of which are in the portfolio of the Ministry.
The mandate of the ministry includes the following:
- provide policy guidance and strategic direction on all matters concerning the media, access to public information, broadcasting, telecommunication, postal service and information communication technology.
- Facilitate universal, ubiquitous and cost-effective access to information and communications infrastructure and services throughout the country.
- Promote the utilization of ICT in all spheres of life to optimize the accelerated socio-economic growth and development through dissemination of public information and provision of innovative information and communication technologies.
- Formulate and implement policies of information and communications technology
- provide press and information services to Government ministries and Departments, locally and externally.