Concerned Citizen: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 September 2019:
A young man works for one of the government ministries in Sierra Leone. His salary is Le 600,000. But he makes between Le 500,000 to Le1,000,000 depending on the turn out every day on his desk (at least Le 2,500,000 a week) engaging in corrupt practices. As a result, he spends the daily cash as he cares. Living large and far above his legitimate income.
He visits the local joint every evening and buys drinks for friends and area boys. They hail him high. He is married, but has two girlfriends. His “income” is enough to take care of them. The Restaurant seller at his favourite joint is happy, the joint owner is happy.
Everyone was benefiting from his “income”. Friends, family, area boys, joint owner, Cookery seller, girlfriends, wife and his church. Life was good.
Then suddenly came a new sheriff in town – the Bio led government, and suddenly the ministry implemented the Treasury Single Account (TSA). His extra “income” disappeared. He now has to adjust to the new normal, and start living within his real income. That wasn’t easy.
Initially, he reduced his daily visit to the joint to 3 days a week and stopped buying drinks for everyone. He reduced his plates of Cassava leaves. The Restaurant seller started to find it hard to sell a full goat each day and resorted to buying half.
The young man’s girlfriends started to feel the heat too. No more iPhone 10. The joint owner noticed a drop in sales. The young man finally stopped visiting the joint after a month. The area boys started feeling his absence. The effect cascaded down.
The young man started spending more time at home with his wife and kids. The family had to readjust to the reality of the new normal. His hair stylist noticed the young man suddenly stopped tipping. He will even wait for his 5 Block change after haircut.
Things are different now. Times are hard, they all cry. The gron dry. The young man is blaming Bio government, his wife is blaming Bio government, the area boys are blaming Paopa, the girlfriends are saying Paopa must go, the joint owner is saying Bio killed the “economy”. The gron dry – they all say.
The Asun seller is cursing Paopa, the hair stylist is insisting Bio is too military like to rule. This is the story of our nation where corruption fuels the “economy”. Those who are not engaging in it are benefiting from it.
This is not about Bio or Paopa achievement or failure, but rather about the “multiplier” effect of corruption and how we have built a system largely driven by corruption. It’s about policy implication (good or bad). It’s about the choices we have made.
Finally, the young man had to withdraw his kids from what he called expensive primary school ( International School). He added: “what are they teaching them there sef, Ernest Koroma nor Maada Bio never went to a private school”. I just laughed.
The Moral of the story:
Most of the so called rich men and women in Sierra Leone before now were feeding fat on the populace. Imagine a low level officer in a ministry sponsoring two of his children’s education in Europe. When Single Treasury Account came to effect, free money dried up, and the government is blamed for his inability to fund his children in Europe. He says the gron dry.
This is what is happening in Sierra Leone right now: Blocking the leakages, causing unfinished houses all over Western Area, leading to Jobless bricklayers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc.