European Union approved a disbursement of Euro 15 Million to support the response of Sierra Leone to the COVID-19 pandemic impact. This comes on top of an emergency disbursement of €10 million in May 2020, bringing the total amount of EU support to €25 million.
Since 2018, the government of Sierra Leone has obtained important results in key development areas, such as access to education, agriculture and on the digital agenda. The impact of the COVID-19 crisis puts however clearly at risk the progress that Sierra Leone has recently achieved. In this exceptional context, the EU is reallocating part of its planned ongoing Budget Support programme in the country to provide this financial transfer: it will contribute to macro-financial stability and will be crucial both to create space for priority expenditures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to support ongoing development priorities.
EU Ambassador Tom Vens said: “this disbursement will contribute to the Government’s ability to sustain its financing to important sectors, such as education, health and infrastructure. In this time of crisis, we need to insure the delivery of key public services, in particular to the poorest segments of the population”.
Even before Sierra Leone had its first confirmed case, the government took concrete measures to address pandemic, and approved both a quick action Economic Response Programme (QAERP) and a COVID Response Plan for the health sector, in March 2020.
As a standard practice with budget support, the EU funds will be channelled into the National Treasury of Sierra Leone. By providing a sizeable grant contribution directly to the national budget, it will enable the pursuit of critical actions to mitigate the health and socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. It will also contribute to reduce the financing gap created by this crisis, induced by the combined fiscal impact of additional expenditure and a shortfall in revenues.