During the official launch of the New Leones currencies at the Bank of Sierra Leone, President Julius Maada Bio has yesterday reiterated his government’s commitment to supporting oil marketing companies for the importation of fuel amidst the global crisis to mitigate the impact on Sierra Leoneans.
During the launching of the country’s redenominated notes at the Bank of Sierra Leone, President Bio said that Sierra Leone does not exist in isolation as we are part of a global economy.
“Sierra Leone, like other African countries, the UK, US, Asian countries, is dealing with the very adverse economic effects of COVID-19 complicated by the current global crises in Ukraine. We are dealing with everything from rising interest rates, inflation, currency depreciation, fuel scarcity, and increased food prices. There are queues for fuel in other African countries as there have been queues for fuel in Asian, Americas, US, UK, and other countries around the world.
“The Minister of Finance has just announced that we are providing foreign exchange to oil marketing companies and the private sector to bring in sufficient stock of fuel and food items on the market. As a government, we can only go so far as to support the private sector to bring these commodities into the local market. We expect they would do their part by making goods freely available in the markets and not create artificial scarcities and extort huge profits,” he said.
From March 2022 to date, President Bio’s government has provided foreign exchange in excess of over US$ 80 Million to oil marketing companies, and from 2020 to date, over Le 593 Billion has been subsidized to stabilize pump prices.
As he continues to provide the necessary support to the private sector, President Bio called on them to think of the masses and not profit-making.
“Private sector players that create artificial scarcities in order to force prices up and make life more difficult for ordinary Sierra Leoneans should ask themselves whether they feel good making life harder for their fellow Sierra Leoneans. They know that inordinately high prices make life tougher for other Sierra Leoneans, especially our poorer and more vulnerable compatriots. As I have always admonished, we should be better and we should do better,” he admonished.
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