Sierra Leone Telegraph: 2 November 2019:
Minister of Planning and Economic Development – Dr. Francis Kai-Kai, last Monday launched the 2018 Sierra Leone Integrated Household Survey (SLIHS) Report, which shows that over two million of households in the country are suffering abject poverty.
The event was organised by Statistics Sierra Leone in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, development partners including the World Bank, the IMF and the African Development Bank, promoting Sierra Leone’s progress towards open access to government data.
Launching report, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai said the SLIHS 2018 Report is a critical milestone in the generation of relevant statistics for national development.
He said Statistics-SL has provided another opportunity for evidence-based policy and decision using a credible data base.
The Minister said the report, which is based on the most essential information collected about the living standards of all segments of the population, should serve as a basis on which government makes policies and guidelines for socio-economic development, if it is to effectively address poverty reduction strategies across the country.
“I am particularly proud of this achievement because the SLIHS 2018 Report will provide a natural baseline to monitor implementation of the Medium Term National Development Plan (2019-2023). It will provide the most reliable poverty profile for Sierra Leone using the new World Bank poverty baseline of $1.90 per day, and assist the Government in determining the socio-economic impact of key policies”, he said.
Dr. Kai-Kai said that, as a government they know it is important not to continue on the same trajectory of the last couple of years, but rather that they are truly committed to achieving the global 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and to the principle of “leaving no one behind”, under the leadership of President Julius Maada Bio.
The Statistician General, Professor Osman Sankoh described the launch of the report as very important, and commended his Team and other development partners.
He said that the measurement of household living standards is a critical statistical function, as it will help government and other policy makers make the right decisions for a diverse population and needs.
World Bank Advisor on Statistics, Elizabeth Forster, described the report as significant in supporting the development objectives of the Government. She noted that the data will better inform Ministries, Agencies and Departments in addressing the most relevant and significant poverty issues facing the country.
Key highlight of the survey report shows that 56.8% of Sierra Leoneans live in poor households; and 12.9% in extreme poverty.
There are serious and growing concern that increasing number of Sierra Leoneans are going to bed hungry, lack access to safe drinking water, basic sanitation, healthcare and shelter.
The value of the Leone to the dollar has declined from Le725,000 in 2017 to Le1,045,000; the cost of bag of rice has risen from Le175,000 in 2017 to Le325,000; a carton of chicken has gone from Le65,000 in 2017 to Le250,000; price of a gallon of cooking oil has gone up from Le85,000 in 2017 to Le250,000; a carton of onions from Le75,000 in 2017 to Le255,000; a carton of sardine from Le85,000 in 2017 to Le265,000; a bag of powdered milk from Le650.000 in 2017 to Le1,200,000; a cup of pepper has gone up from Le1.000 in 2017 to Le7.000; a cup of gari has gone up from Le300 in 2017 to Le2,000.
Sierra Leone imports most of its basic foods including rice – its staple food, which is costing the country $200 million to import every year.
The government is hoping that with the president’s recent overseas visits and discussions with foreign investors, significant investments will be made if food production is to help ease the suffering.