Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a forward written for the inaugural edition of the Semi-Annual Public Debt Statistical Bulletin, Financial Secretary Matthew Dingie emphasized that the frequency of reporting quality debt statistics plays a crucial role in enhancing market confidence. Dingie believes that this enhancement can lead to a reduction in sovereign risk premiums and borrowing costs.
The Semi-Annual (First Half) 2023 Public Debt Statistical Bulletin was published with the support of the African Development Bank (ADB), under the Enhancing Efficiency in Public Debt Management Institutional Support Project (EEPDMISP).
Dingie stated that “The publication of the bulletin is to increase the frequency of reporting on public debt statistics to internal and external stakeholders, including the public. Debt transparency and accountability is central to promoting confidence in fiscal policy management”.
This edition of the bulletin delves into the evolution of public debt in recent times, reviewing public debt accumulation and debt service payments during the first half of 2023. Dingie highlighted that it provides an in-depth analysis of the structure of external and domestic debt, assessing the costs and risks inherent in the public debt portfolio for the specified period.
The bulletin also brings attention to Sierra Leone’s exposure to risks of debt distress and outlines Medium-Term Debt Strategy targets. Dingie mentioned the existence of a national working group for the conduct of Annual Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA) and Medium-Term Debt Strategy (MTDS) formulation. This group comprises various government entities, including the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, the Accountant General Department, the Bank of Sierra Leone, National Revenue Authority, Statistics Sierra Leone, the University of Sierra Leone, and Civil Society Organizations.
The Financial Secretary stressed that the composition of the national working group aims to involve relevant agents across the public debt management chain in Sierra Leone. “The make-up of the national working group is to involve the relevant agents across the public debt management chain in Sierra Leone and to promote accountability and transparency in management of public debt in Sierra Leone” the Financial Secretary said.
At the end, Dingie expressed gratitude to the African Development Bank, particularly through the EEPDMISP, for their efforts in promoting public debt management reforms and capacity building in Sierra Leone. ZIJ/26/1/2024