Sierra Leone’s Debt Stands at US$3Billion
The Coordinator of Budget Advocacy Network (BAN), Abubakarr Kamara, has said in Freetown that Sierra Leone’s debt is at high risk. He said it’s not because the country is unable to pay the debt, but it will seriously affect the development of the country.
He said the situation is not caused by the country but suffered from the negative effects of Ebola outbreak in 2014 which eventually dwindled the economic infrastructure and crippled the health system. He emphasized that COVID exacerbated the problem by worsening the country’s economic growth. He DISCLOSED that in 2015, the country suffered from twin shock disasters, Ebola and the dropped in iron ore price.
He noted that Sierra Leone’s total debt as at the end of 2020 amounted to Le30.71 trillion (US$3Bn). He said the amount is bigger than the entire 2019, 2020 and 2021 government budgets put together. He noted that the external debt is 65% and domestic debt is 35%.
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He disclosed that debt servicing alone is taking 43% of the domestic revenue hence reducing the space for government to invest on social services including health and education.
Mr. Kamara said there is need to act now to cancel the debt and use those resources to support social service delivery especially in health and education.
He said part of their efforts to tackle external debt problem, organisations including BAN, Christian Aid, Action Aid and OXFAM that are working in Sierra Leone have come together, to offer support to the people of Sierra Leone and its government for expeditious and full cancellation.
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He said the four organizations have come to act in a coordinated fashion that will advocate and campaign for the speedy and full debt relief and cancellation for Sierra Leone and lobby international financial institutions, multilateral creditors, bilateral, private and external creditors to cancel Sierra Leone’s debt.
He made the statement yesterday at Parliament Building Room 1 when, they engaged Members of Parliament on the need to cancel all debts.
In his contribution the Opposition Whip Hon. Hassan Sesay said they should address the issue based on national characters around debt relief, adding that unnecessary expenditure, creating and supporting irrelevant institutions and wattage of government resources must be stopped and monies must be allocated to developmental agencies.
He supported the relief campaign but insisted that necessary policies should be established to prevent the country form such burden.
According to New Vision Newspaper, Hon. Dr. Mack Mamound Kalokoh urged BAN and other institutions to establish a roadmap that will lead to the 2004 debt cancellation of the country. He said they will join the advocate for the debt cancellation.
He affirmed that the country has faced serious disasters that led the country to be highly indebted. He noted that if the debt is not cancelled the burden will be too huge. The deputy Leader of Government Business, Hon. Bashiru Silikie said the debts volume is very huge but insisted it is not unique to Sierra Leone alone and therefore called on all to focus on Transparency and accountability on public debt relief.