As the fever of the global financial crisis continues to bite both developed and developing nations, including Sierra Leone where people highly depend on remittances from relatives and friends abroad, a Lecturer at the Economics Department at Fourah Bay College, Samuel Jamiru Braima has requested government to increase its revenue base.
“Well, giving the nature of our financial market in Sierra Leone with limited instruments like: treasury bills and bearer bonds the global financial crisis has little effect on us; but that not withstanding, USA being a giant economy, when it catches cold, every other nation suffers, hence our best option is to increase the revenue base” he explained.
He envisaged that the global financial crisis might cause international financial institutions and other donor agencies like IMF and World Bank to strategize stringent measures in giving out loans, credits and grants to developing countries.
He therefore advised that the Government of Sierra Leone should take the bold initiative to increase the national revenue base in order to match up with international financial markets and to be freed from over dependency on donor aid.
On the issue of the financial future of Sierra Leone, Sammy Braima pointed out that the country is endowed with huge deposits of natural and mineral resources such as: marine, mineral and agricultural resources.
“If our fishes, cash crops, diamonds, gold, rutile, bauxites etc are properly tapped and managed, the people of Sierra Leone have no business been poor” he stated.
He added that, provision of farm subsidies to farmers and the provision of feeder roads to farming communities would enhance food self sufficiency in the country.
Talking on the micro (small) level of the global financial effect on Sierra Leone, Braima narrated that there are several Sierra Leonean students attending Colleges and Universities in Europe and USA on loan or credit and at the same time serve as bread winners for their relatives back home.
With the global financial crisis, he said, such credit would be very expensive as such would render those students drop out and hence all form of remittances might likely be cutoff.
Indeed several house holds in Sierra Leone now suffer as a direct result of the global financial turmoil.
At the macro(big) level he noted that , the mining sector would seriously be dented as all the loyalties from those mining companies related to USA would likely be cut down drastically; this he said would lead to slump of diamond export towards the economy and it would subsequently affect the general commodity prices of Sierra Leone.
He narrated a monkey business in which people sold all the monkeys available to a man at a reasonable rate; but as time went on the monkeys became more valuable and their prices increased but monkeys got finished or extinct.
The people had no alternative but demand for their monkeys and even opted to pay $50 US Dollar per monkey, but the assistant to the man decided to sell the monkey for $ 35 US to the people; they would in return sell them to his boss at $ 50 US Dollars. After paying the money, the assistant disappeared. He said ‘you can not give what you don’t have.’
“Speculation in Sierra Leone is very low, hence issues of global financial crisis could not be felt in Sierra Leone as in industrialized nations”, he said. By Solomon Rogers