Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance, Sheku Ahmed Fantamadi Bangura, took the podium yesterday at the inaugural press conference of the Ministry of Information and Civic Education to provide a comprehensive overview of the current economic situation and present the details of a Supplementary Budget.

Minister Bangura emphasized that the purpose of the Supplementary Budget is to enhance revenue collection to support vital socio-economic initiatives aimed at advancing holistic development within the nation.

He highlighted that evolving economic circumstances, which deviated from the assumptions underlying the 2023 budget, prompted the need for an amended budget, subject to parliamentary endorsement.

Enumerating the key catalysts driving this Supplementary Budget, Minister Bangura cited achievements outlined in the President’s Big Five Changers Manifesto, the establishment of new governmental ministries, disbursement of funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), global disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict impacting supply chains, and instabilities within the petroleum sector. These factors collectively led to a revised budget framework designed to address the prevalent challenges.

Minister Bangura underscored the government’s resolute efforts to make essential commodities such as rice, sugar, flour, and petroleum products readily accessible to the populace, despite the prevailing obstacles.

He noted that the administration under President Bio’s leadership is diligently implementing these economic reforms to foster agricultural productivity, counteract food insecurity, empower youth through skill acquisition, bolster small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and provide direct financial assistance to over 10,000 economically disadvantaged individuals, thus mitigating the adverse effects of the global economic climate.

Anticipating positive outcomes, Minister Bangura expressed optimism about achieving a projected 4.78% GDP growth rate by the coming year, attributing this progress to the ongoing process of fiscal consolidation.

He further elaborated that meticulous fiscal management has paved the way for an anticipated reduction of the budget deficit by 5.4% from its current 10% by year-end.

A noteworthy aspect highlighted is the government’s dual commitment to subsidizing essential items like petroleum products, rice, and electricity, while simultaneously fulfilling its obligations to the nation, as articulated by the Strategic Communications Unit. Minister Bangura’s comprehensive address sheds light on Sierra Leone’s determined pursuit of economic stability and resilience amidst a complex global landscape.