Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 July 2017
The Parliament of Sierra Leone, yesterday Tuesday, 18th July 2017 unanimously ratified the appointment of Dr. Patrick Saidu Conteh by president Koroma, as the new Bank Governor of Sierra Leone, following the resignation of his predecessor, Dr. Kaifala Marah.
The Speaker of Parliament – SBB Dumbuya called on “Dr. Conteh to do his best in stabilizing the monetary aspect of the economy, as he has been extolled in superlative terms by Members of Parliament”.
Members of Parliament on both sides of the aisle who contributed to the debate, praised President Koroma for nominating Dr. Conteh to the office of Bank Governor. But critics say that his appointment is tribalistic nepotism.
Conteh (Photo) was described by parliamentarians as more than qualified for the job, and they called on him to tighten the screws on financial leakages, and to stabilise the Leone in line with the US Dollar.
Other members of parliament referred to Conteh “as a man of integrity and sobriety”, calling on him to be innovative in executing his duties, and to revamp the economy by providing access to loans for Sierra Leoneans.
Both the Acting Minority and Majority Leaders of parliament – Jusufu B. Mansaray and Hassan Sheriff, respectively called on Conteh whom they referred to as an “home-grown” Bank Governor (a euphemism for Sierra Leonean appointees that were not trained overseas), to work closely with the Deputy Bank Governor to improve the money supply management in the economy.
They also spoke about the need for improved access to loans to farmers, the effective management of the fisheries sector, and the stabilization of the exchange rates.
It is unfortunate that Dr. Conteh was approved for this job, as the job is beyond his expertise. He is not going to be working with just local Sierra Leoneans, but with other Central Bank Governors around the world, who are seasoned economists and conduct their business in the language of mathematics that Dr. Conteh will not understand. He will therefore have no respect among fellow bank governors even within West Africa, not to talk about the world.
Moreover, the approval also reveals a larger governance problem in Sierra Leone. As we now know that it is not just the APC that is corrupt and bankrupt but the SLPP as well. It was incumbent upon the SLPP as an opposition party to stop this nomination because it is not in the best interest of Sierra Leone, but the APC who want a crony, and yes man at the central bank to continue with the problem of poor stewardship of the economy to the detriment of the country.
Lastly, the reason why we brought this issue to the public is to create awareness about the catastrophic inflation that is spiraling out of control in the country, so that pressure can be put on the authorities to have competent people in charge of the situation to fight it.
Why? because inflation is generally a bad thing for an economy, as it discourages investment, especially in fixed income instruments (bonds and currencies). It hurts consumers, who see their paychecks become worth-less, and their costs increase.
The type of inflation going on in Sierra Leone, is to purportedly help the economy overcome the recession/austerity or the large debt burden. This is generally referred to as “inflating your way out of debt.” It will have long-term negative consequences on the country as it causes currency depreciation, which is what is happening to the Leone. There is no end in sight for the decline in the exchange rate of the Leone.
During inflationary periods, investors do not want to buy debt instruments issued by a country, because they are denominated in the currency that is being devalued due to the inflation.
Thus, all one can do is point the anomalies out, and leave the rest to the public to decide. The aphorism therefore that people get the government they deserve is apparent here. If Sierra Leoneans want a different government, the way forward is being charted by Dr. Kandeh Yumkellah.
Throw the APC and SLPP out for a government of national unity, headed by Dr. Yumkellah. He will put Sierra Leone first, instead of his parochial or tribal interests.
I must applaud the great job that the editor of this fine newspaper is doing for Sierra Leone. Keep up with the good job Mr. Abdul Rashid Thomas. Posterity will honor and pay you kindly, when the history of this period of Sierra Leone is revealed.
Dear Sierra Leoneans home and abroad, our country is weeping in tears with tribalism, regionalism and connectocracy. Sierra Leone is gradually degenerating into the vices mentioned in this story, as if we are not in the same territory.
Tribalism is and has always been part of our culture, but it has never raised its ugly head in the history of this country than it is today. All our past leaders managed and contained tribalism from the days of Pop Sheki to that of Pa Kabbah – from degenerating into tension. But this is not the case today.
If one could do an independent statistical assessment of recruitment in Government offices, scholarships issued for studies at home and abroad, loans issued to people, police and military recruitment, contract awarded, etc., you will see clear distinction of tribalism along these lines by just checking the names of awardees.
On the question of going to the polls in March 2018, I am not even sure if elections will take place as proposed, due to the desire of the APC to cling on power. The same adage that was contested – ‘more time is being portrayed gradually’.
God, you who created man in your image and likeness, look down upon this nation with the eyes of pity, as you did with the Israelites. Send us a saviour who will save this nation from degenerating further into anarchy.