SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party politicians always say what comes around, goes around. This is a statement to justify the reduction of Sierra Leone’s currency to the barest minimum of Le 1.
The act, by all indications, is a seeming retaliation of the string up of the country’s Leones by the past APC (All People’s Congress) government of President Ernest Bai Koroma Government has made it clear, in a press release few days ago that the old Leones will cease to exist after November, this year. According to the press release, the Lel, 000 (One thousand Leones) will reads as Lel(one Leone), 2, 000 (two thousand Leones) will be considered as Le2 (two Leones), LeS, 000 (five thousand Leones) will read as Le5 (five Leones) and Le10, 000 (ten thousand Leones) which is the highest denomination will read as Le10 (ten Leones). The reduction is about doing away with the zeros.
As Sierra Leoneans set to welcome the new Leones which will become the country’s legal tender next month, others remain quite suspicious and critical of the move. A popular argument holds that government’s main motive is to bring APC’s financial activities under check. By exchanging the old Leones with the new Leones, government would know exactly how much is in the opposition coffers. It is a way of crippling APC ahead of 2023, and to create a difficult political environment for the main opposition after years of persistent harassment and opposition. The ruling party is not sure of going back to State House next year after abusing the people’s confidence by failing to deliver. The only way out is to suppress and kill the main opposition, if possible, so that there can be no contender.
SLPP succeeds with the new tactic, the party is safe in 2023,
But, if they fail, they have failed all in all. With the new Leones, government will also succeed in ensuring a sinister cover up of the huge debt burden SLPP has accrued in its four years of state governance. Official figures recently put government debts at 30, 71 trillion Leones, (over US$30m, the highest since independence in 1961. If the new money is implemented, the Le 30.71 trillion Leones will be seen as Le30bn.
With this new arrangement, government debt burden Will sound low but the value remains the same. Uncontrollable Inflation which has been a persistent threat to Sierra Leoneans livelihoods may subtly a dressed with new currency.
Where a commodity which was Le10, 000 and now indicated as Le10 well make the price appear less in the ears of the people, and Bio might turn a once-sour relationship with the people to a good one. As inflation done away with, the issue of price hikes will also rear its head. Few economists have have continuously argued that currency devaluation tightly fits into a country with a productive economy and not consumer society.