Confronting the Contradictions: The IMF, Wage Bill Caps and the Case for Teachers

This paper builds on previous research and new in-depth country case studies from Malawi, Mozambique, and Sierra Leone. It finds that a major factor behind the severe teacher shortage in these countries is that IMF policies have forced governments to freeze or curtail teacher recruitment. While the IMF’s influence varies from country to country regarding the precise funding level for wages of public-sector employees, the IMF contributes to teacher shortages by insisting on overly restrictive macroeconomic policies that unnecessarily constrain overall government spending and thus constrain sector budgets and employee wages.

Sierra Leone

Transparency (Open Budget Index) 52/100

The Government of Sierra Leone provides the public with limited budget information.

Public Participation 31/100

The Government of Sierra Leone is weak in providing the public with opportunities to engage in the budget process.

Budget Oversight

By legislature 36/100

Budget oversight by the legislature in Sierra Leone is weak.

By auditor 67/100

Budget oversight by the supreme audit institution in Sierra Leone is adequate.


Improving Transparency

Sierra Leone should prioritize the following actions to improve budget transparency:

  • Publish the Pre-Budget Statement and the Year-End Report.[1]
  • Publish the budget cycle timetable.
  • Increase the comprehensiveness of the Executive’s Budget Proposal by presenting more information on the classification of revenues for the budget year and data on debt and interest for the budget year.
Improving Participation

Sierra Leone should prioritize the following actions to improve budget participation:

  • Provide detailed feedback on how public perspectives have been captured and taken into account.
  • Hold legislative hearings on the budgets of specific ministries, departments, and agencies at which testimony from the public is heard.
  • Establish formal mechanisms for the public to assist the supreme audit institution to formulate its audit program and participate in audit investigations.
Improving Oversight

Sierra Leone should prioritize the following actions to strengthen budget oversight:

  • Establish a specialized budget research office for the legislature.
  • In both law and practice, ensure the legislature is consulted prior to the virement of funds in the Enacted Budget, the spending of any unanticipated revenue, and the spending of contingency funds that were not identified in the Enacted Budget.
  • Ensure the supreme audit institution has adequate funding to perform its duties, as determined by an independent body (e.g., the legislature or judiciary).
  • Ensure the supreme audit institution collaborates with civil society on performance audits

[1] According to updated results from the Open Budget Survey Tracker (, Sierra Leone failed to produce a Year-End Report for 2013.