Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 July 2021:
Last week in Sierra Leone’s parliament, opposition party MPs questioned the Bio-led government about the Le31.3 Trillion that they borrowed in the last three years of taking power in 2018.
Parliamentary Leader of the National Grand Coalition party (NGC) – Dr Kandeh Yumkella, challenged the government to come clean on its spending of the hundreds of millions of dollars they have borrowed since 2018.
Abdul Kargbo MP, speaking for the main opposition All People’s Congress Party (APC) said that President Bio has failed to deliver on his promise to keep a tight control on public spending and borrowing.
He said that Sierra Leone descended from moderate debt risk in 2018 to high debt risk in 2020, according to the IMF.
Abdul Kargbo explained that in the ten years of the former Koroma-led APC government, Sierra Leone’s external debt was Le19 Trillion when they left office in 2018, compared to the last three years of the current SLPP government, which has built up a mountain of foreign debt of over Thirty-One Trillion Leones.
This he said, amounts to an increase of Le12.3 Trillion in less than three years in office, equivalent to an annual borrowing of Le4.1 Trillion, as against the APC’s annual average borrowing of Le1.66 Trillion.
Abdul Kargbo MP reminded parliamentarians that in 2018 president Bio made a solemn promise to the people of Sierra Leone which he has broken.
The question now remains – can president Bio be trusted in office? Elections are due in 2023
The opposition MP listed several promises made by the President that are yet to come to fruition, such as free tuition for teachers, youth empowerment fund, cultural village to promote the country’s culture, establishment of arts theatre, development of the entertainment industry, building of houses for all MPs, constructing a bridge across Lungi to Freetown, and building a national bakery.
Finally, Abdul Kargbo lamented that the debt figures he had quoted are only for 2020, and that 2021 is not included, as he expressed fear that the country’s external debt will continue to rise exponentially because of poor financial management by the Bio-led government.