Tough Time Ahead But… Bio Determined

 

Speaking on Bloomberg TV during his visit to the United States of America (USA) to deliver a talk at the Harvard School of Government, President Bio admitted that tough time lies ahead for Sierra Leone but that he is determined to change that ugly narrative.

President Bio has repeatedly informed the nation and the world that he inherited a battered and depressed economy that was surviving on a shoestring budget. Asked by the interviewer how quickly he can change that story by inducing growth, he said he is struggling to create a new Sierra Leone that is a champion of human development which is the flagship programme of his government.

President Bio said what his government has tried to do is to bring about macroeconomic stability through prudent financial management, increased revenue uptake and clamping down on corruption in order to bring about efficient political and economic management of the state and its resources.

The revived IMF programme, he said, is an enabler, in the sense that engagement with the IMF sends a strong signal to other financial institutions such as the World Bank and donor partners that the government can be trusted. This, he said, kindles investor confidence and paves the way for development cooperation with international partners.

Inflation is at double digits, the interviewer asked President Bio, how quickly he can bring it down to single digits. “A little while,” he replied, “we are up to the task; we are determined to bring inflation down.”

Asked why he stopped the USD400 million Chinese funded Airport at Mamamah project and whether this does not send a negative signal to investors, President Bio said, the project was not in the best interest of the country and its people, even though the country faces infrastructural challenges. “We want to use our own resources,” he explained.

Towards this, he said, a survey of the country’s mineral resources is going on. When completed, he said, the result will be used to work with banks and other financial institutions to attract development funding for infrastructure that is useful to the country.

“It is not going to be easy,” he said, adding, “but we will create the environment for investors to come