As the value of the Leone continues to drop, the Executive Director of Sierra Leone’s Native Consortium, Edmond Abu has said the depreciation of the Leone against foreign currencies is artificial. Edmond made this statement on Monday 2nd September 2019 during a press briefing at the SLAJ Conference Hall in Freetown. He furthered that the situation of the Leone at the moment does not need a “textbook economic solution; but a pragmatic and radical step to reverse the trends.” “It is indisputable that prices of basic commodities have continued to sky-rocket and the crunch is biting the ordinary man very hard, because the Leone has kept depreciating against foreign currencies, especially the dollar at neck-breaking speed within the last 13 months,” he pointed out.
In a bid to proffer solutions to help rescue the situation, Edmond Abu stated that their organization is concerned about the 68% debt to GDP ratio inherited by the current administration and that they are calling on the government to strike the balance between sovereign debt and social spending- “the government should focus on concessional loans that do not only reflect on our balance sheets, but loans that are self-sustained and serviced.” He further suggested that Sierra Leone should use the currency swapping methods with countries like China and surrender value obligations from the forex on the proceeds of their export product, as that would contribute immensely towards reversing the negative trend and revamp the economy. He called on the Central Bank of Sierra Leone to ‘De-dollarise’ the economy urgently. Abu said the illicit flow of capital and increase in money laundering activities, in connivance with some top executives as insiders must be checkmated immediately with robust surveillance and monitoring measures by the Bank Governor. “The Native Consortium has evidence about the dark sides of the money laundering cartels and syndicates, which are threatening to wreck our economy,” he maintained. In his statement, Augustine T-Mgegba Putan, Manager National Risk Assessment and Outreach Officer at the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), stated that their institution is currently monitoring the activities behind the depreciation of the Leone, and that they would take all evidences from the Native Consortium and do an in-depth investigation on the said matter.
By Abdulrahman Koroma
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