As He Left The Public Confused Over His statement About Bribery, Bank Governor Clears The Air
The Bank Of Sierra Leone has issued a statement about the Bank Governor Professor Kelfala M. Kallon recent presentation to Parliament on the 22nd November, 2021, relating to the redenomination of the Leone. The Governor, Professor Kelfala M. Kallon, mentioned the massive hoarding of Leones, starting in June 2020, as one of several factors justifying the Bank’s decision to redenominate the currency.
The Press release stated that the Governor figuratively used “bribery” to describe this sequence of hoarders exchanging their Leone notes for US dollar notes and then withdrawing the recirculated Leone notes so that the Bank of Sierra Leone would be compelled to buy them back with US dollars in order to avert catastrophic shortages of cash in the banking system.
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In the Question and Answer session following the presentation, two members of Parliament asked the Governor why he used the word “bribe”, given that some journalist in the room would go and twist it in ways that the Governor would regret.
The Governor responded that, while a professor, he had often used “bribe” in his lectures to explain to students that consumers often “bribe” producers with higher prices as incentives for the latter to increase the supply of commodities in short supply. To clarify what he meant by “bribe” in the instant case, he used the example of the willingness of consumers to pay higher prices for peppers so that farmers would supply more peppers to the market when they are in short supply. It was in this context, he concluded, that he used the verb “bribe” to explain how the Bank of Sierra Leone used 68 million US dollars to bring Leones back into the banking system.
The release stated that it is unfortunate that in spite of this explanation, some newspapers and persons on social media chose to deliberately mischaracterize the Governor’s nuanced statement as a confession that he had engaged in bribery.