Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 March 2019:
Sierra Leone’s economy is in dire need of external financial support to unlock the massive private sector investments required by the Bio led SLPP government to create jobs and put money in people’s pockets.
President Bio has promised the creation of millions of jobs, but key economic sectors with growth potential such as fishery, tourism, agro-processing and farming are in desperate need of cash injection.
Yesterday, Tuesday 12th March 2019. the World Bank Group announced a new $325 million funding package for Sierra Leone, at a joint meeting held in Washington on Monday 11th March 2019, between president Julius Maada Bio and the World Bank Group’s Interim president – Kristalina Georgieva.
The meeting discussed the country’s progress in accessing the recently announced $172 million IMF Extended Credit Facility; the government’s fiscal consolidation efforts; plans for restructuring Sierra Leone’s debts and arrears clearance, which currently stands at $1.4 billion; and support for president Bio’s $1.5 billion Medium-term (2019–2023) National Development Plan.
Interim World Bank president Georgieva praised president Bio for his bold economic reforms. She said “president Bio’s agenda will guarantee his legacy and place in history.”
Speaking about president Bio’s performance in managing the economy, World Bank vice president for Africa Region – Hafez Ghanem said: “we are impressed with your performance in just 10 months in office. So we are ready to support your government.”
President Bio expressed appreciation to the World Bank for strengthening its support for his government’s newly launched National Development Plan.
He said that his government is focusing on human capital development; science, technology and innovation; and greater private sector participation to address the country’s vast infrastructure needs, and support high growth sectors that will create much needed jobs.
He spoke about his determination to fight corruption – a fight which he said, must be won if Sierra Leone is to develop.
At the end of the World Bank’s meeting with president Bio, it was agreed that the World Bank will step up its support for the country’s energy sector through additional financing for electricity generation, distribution and transmission; rural electrification and solar energy.
Both sides agreed to engage further in a roundtable discussion on energy in April 2019 at the World Bank/IMF Spring meetings.
The Bank has committed to support women and girls through its women empowerment programme; address high maternal mortality; provide incentives to keep girls in school and support reproductive health services.
It will also support private sector growth; increase access to internet; increase budgetary assistance and additional support for social safety nets for vulnerable groups, women, and youth, including people living with disabilities.
The Bank’s increased financial support for the Bio led government comes as the SLPP government marks its first year in office.
In 2017 the International Monetary Fund suspended its Extended Credit Facility agreement with the APC government of president Koroma – worth about $248 million, after serious economic mismanagement and corruption.
The only genuine way out of the national debt of SL is for the country itself to be entered into international trade, whereby the country shall gain clean clear funds and WITHOUT repayment or interest, just like all other countries perform. SL have multi billions of in-ground assets, and the banks can issue the guarantees of such to participate into trade themselves, no need for world bank handouts and loans.
People, you have to open your eyes and ask yourselves WHY do foreigners all go to SL to reap the resources and the country remains dirt poor???? It is about time SL stood up tall and enters the real world of banking and finance. DO NOT worry I have already put the seeds into the ears of SL govt; and I shall hopefully be helping them this year if they LISTEN and DO…. Amen.
Your question is very fair and genuine to ask Mr. Moiba. I 100% agree with you. The point I was making and want you to know is that, Sierra Leone has been receiving foreign aid since independence and yet, we are still poor.
In fact we have been accessed as one of the poorest if not the poorest country in the world. I might be wrong now because I don’t know the current standing in terms on which country is the poorest.
But with all these disgusting ratings and standings, Sierra Leone continues to receive aid from the World Bank and the IMF. My worry is that, we will one day default, which will be a disaster. By then, may be, most of us would have gone to heaven or hell depending on what we did whilst we were on earth; especially, the way we squandered the people’s money whilst we were in office. Our children then just have to face the mistakes of their fathers and forefathers.
We don’t know the conditions and the interests that are pegged on these loans. Neither the government nor the IMF or World Bank will tell us. If the public is made aware of the conditions and interests pegged on these loans, then I am very sure that most people will reject it. Sierra Leone does not have any access to any type of debt relief. At least for now.
But, what is clear is that each country that offers aid has its own personal or Geo-political interest. Our foreign debts is now running into billions of dollars and we just keep pilling it up each time we borrow without finding solutions how to reduce it.
If the US for example offers or give aid to Sierra Leone, they would like their own businesses to participate (to get contracts), even if the prices for any service offered will be higher than their competitors. We can never become economically sovereign if it continues like this. It will continue to be a disaster.
In my opinion, Sierra Leone could shift to negotiating grants and live within it’s receipts (proceeds from TAXES and MINERAL EXPORTS). It is possible. No doubt about that. Grants are the best way in my opinion to attract investors because, the investors, the country and the people will benefit. The politicians, I’m afraid won’t.
We can ask for grants by donor countries and investors alike. If the country for example wants to construct a fish processing centre, they would just have to make the necessary arrangements with potential fish processing companies. The companies will give them their conditions on how they would like to operate. The problems with these type of deals is the KICK BACK or Mr. PERCENTAGE issue. Such deals are always very good and in the interest of the country and it’s people. There are a lot of companies who want to invest, but they most times say no because of the corruption involved in setting up their businesses.
To answer your question Mr. Moiba, I would like our country to start working with countries who offer grants like The UK. Secondly, the country should try to live within it’s receipts. Finally, if the country does not at least try to change it’s addiction on foreign debts, then we will ever remain to live in CLOUD CUCKOO land.
GOD BLESS SIERRA LEONE. This is my best answer to you Mr. Moiba.
“To answer your question Mr. Moiba, I would like our country to start working with countries who offer grants like The UK.” Sahr Matturi
Sierra Leone’s relationship with the United Kingdom predates independence. Also, it is instructive that the limited resources of the United Kingdom and other western democracies have competing uses.
Thus, it is not far fetched that given the large number of countries applying for grants from western nations, there is no guarantee that these applicants would be favorably considered.
I am not a big fan of the IMF and the World Bank. But these institutions were established primarily to facilitate international trade, tackle balance of payments problems and reduce poverty around the world.
Thus, not only are they more specialized monetary institutions, but they are also in a better position to solve global monetary problems than independent western nations who may be dealing with their own domestic problems.
Mr. Matturi, please tell me where to start with any meaningful development today in Sierra Leone without financial help from outside?
Yes debt that is going to improve the life of Sierra Leone. Do you have a problem with investment in our beloved country Sierra Leone?
After playing games with international financial institutions and pilfering funds from domestic financial institutions for ten years, Sierra Leone has at last found a serious and level-headed leader that is determined to create the environment for growth and sustainable development.
In just eleven months in office, president Bio has transformed the image of Sierra Leone from a theater where corruption and diseases thrived, to one that is ready to embrace democracy, the rule of law and transformational growth.
APC apologists criticizing the president had all the time in the world to embrace good governance and lead the country to economic progress. They refused as they were inept, incompetent, greedy and blatantly mediocre. Let the APC rot in the opposition where they belong.
Another DEBT again for our children to pay. Is that right?
OH GOD, HELP OUR CHILDREN PAY THOSE DEBTS!!! whilst we suffer the consequences.
AMEN AND AMEN.