Governor of the Central bank, Samura Kamara has revealed that the foreign reserves is little over $200m, and further stressed his uneasiness over the global financial crisis affecting the world, which is yet to have any impact on developing countries like ours.
Speaking to Awoko’s Senior Correspondent on a wide range of issues recently, the Central Bank Chief lamented that the foreign reserve “is not comfortable, but it is not all that bad, as there are areas where it help us to go into auction”.
He maintained further, “we would have love as a Bank to support the auction with huge amounts of money but we cannot,” indicating that the reserve is utilized to support the economy, as they are obligated to honour debts on behalf of government.”
Turning his attention to the global financial crises, the Governor maintained that “for us in Sierra Leone such financial crisis may not be seen now, but there could be secondary effect”, citing the mortgage financing we have embarked upon, as we cannot afford to give loans to people who may not pay back”.
He emphasized that “we have to make sure that we access mortgage loans properly and to ensure that the Banks are prepared”.
Commenting on the Central Bank itself he opined that, “we have undertaken the responsibility of a reform structure of the entire financial sector, as we have got a current programme which we are developing”.
This he said, has given them the opportunity to meet with the International Monetary Fund, (IMF), the World Bank, the European Union to do a comprehensive diagnostic analysis review of the financial system in the country. However, he disclosed that by the end of this year the country would have a comprehensive document analysis on what is happening on the financial sector and from there onward, “we would draw up our action plan”.
On the establishment of Nigerian banks, he said, “there is nothing wrong to have these Banks, as we need a robust financial sector,” indicating that there were days in this country when we had just five banks, but today “ we have about 14 from ECOWAS countries.
These, he noted, would give investors the opportunity to move from one Bank to another and negotiate, and “so as I am concern it is good for Sierra Leone, as we have to diversify our banking services which have seen the establishment of Banks in neglected areas due to the competition.