Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone, Ibrahim L. Stevens, has pledged to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that crucial content from the currency redenomination report will be published within one week after the conclusion of Parliamentary proceedings.
This commitment follows the Central Bank’s submission of a comprehensive report to Parliament at the end of October. In a joint Letter of Intent dated November 6, 2023, and addressed to Kristalina Georgieva, IMF’s Managing Director, the Finance Minister and the Governor expressed their dedication to publishing specific items (i-vi) from the redenomination report. This commitment aims to address deficiencies outlined in the internal audit report on the currency redenomination.
The Structural Benchmarks for the 8th Review of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement with the Fund mandated the Central Bank, in accordance with the BSL Act 2019, to provide a detailed report on the currency redenomination process to Parliament by end-October 2023.
The requested report should encompass information such as the total budget allocated to the redenomination process, the amount spent, total cost of the redenomination process, monthly value of old Leones in circulation and withdrawn, monthly value of old notes destroyed, monthly value of new Leones ordered and received, and monthly value of new Leones issued and in circulation.
The IMF, in its Country Report No. 23/377 published on Monday, November 27, 2023, acknowledged the authorities’ efforts to enhance transparency around the currency redenomination. The report revealed that the Finance Minister and the Governor, in their Letter of Intent, committed to publishing the specified items as requested under the Structural Benchmark.
The IMF Staff recognized steps taken by the authorities, including the approval of an internal audit report on the redenomination process and the submission of a detailed report to Parliament. However, they noted setbacks in the currency redenomination process, such as budget overruns and practical challenges related to the availability of storage space for old banknotes.
Highlighting the importance of transparency, the IMF Staff emphasized that it is critical to support the credibility of the new currency. They called for stronger project management and oversight to mitigate challenges in the redenomination process. Governor Ibrahim L. Stevens’ commitment is seen as a positive step toward ensuring transparency and accountability in the currency redenomination process. ZIJ/29/11/2023