President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma yesterday declared the Rokel Commercial Bank, Makeni branch, opened at a very flamboyant ceremony.
The president said as a private sector man he was happy to take part in the inaugural ceremony of the bank.
He said, “the extension and growth of the bank is in line with my policy of revamping the economy,” and that he saw the bank as the frontiers to revamp the economy.
The head of state congratulated the bank for what he described as a great achievement, pointing out that after the bank changed to Rokel from Barclays the former left only one branch but the Rokel management had increased the branches and staff.
The president also took the time to admonish and encourage the bank to provide direction for change in the economy of the country.
“For us to succeed as an economy there must be a change of direction and the banks must go back to their core business”, Dr Ernest Koroma directed.
He enunciated that the bank had supported government’s policies which they accepted but that it had not created the impact of supporting the economic growth.
Dr Bai Koroma said what the bank should now concentrate on doing was develop the private sector, and also to create an enabling environment which would encourage the large percentage of people participating in the informal sector which was above 70% go to the formal sector.
The president stressed that they should “engage the people”, and encouraged the banks to come together to find big projects, syndicate their efforts and see how they could help the economy of the country.
He promised that his government would try by all means to reduce the high cost of doing business in Sierra Leone, pointing to the provision of electricity which had been helping in the reduction of the cost of business.
“We expect that this will reflect in the interest rates of the bank”, he urged.
The president also promised to disengage government from the private sector and even the Rokel Commercial Bank.
He said they would privatize the bank not that it is not doing well but because they needed to limit their engagement in just regulating