Alimamy Sesay, a Diaspora member of the All People’s Congress (APC) party political analyst who spoke to the AYV last evening said the agreement governing the use of the money required Koroma’s government to increase domestic revenue by collecting market-rate royalties on Sierra Leone’s mineral exports, eliminating ‘discretionary waivers’ of import taxes on multiple goods and services, and imposing a 20% import tax on imported vehicles worth more than $25,000.
He said the deal also committed the government to removing subsidies on rice and on fuel by allowing petroleum products to be taxed at real market values, adding that these conditions are really harsh from IMF and at such crunching times.
“I don’t think Sierra Leoneans are ready for such. Looking at Sierra Leone’s economy, one will refer to it as container economy, which heavily depends on import”. Mr. Sesay noted. He went further to say it is a natural resource economy (meaning it relies on iron ore, diamond, gold, bauxite among others), which had been gravely affected by the downtrend of their global prices.
Presently Sesay went on to say, Sierra Leone’s economy is in a recovery mode after its two natural disasters and that the import level far exceeds that of export, which is largely responsible for the continuous increase in the exchange rate and forced the prices of commodities in the country to rise up sharply; a situation that is affecting the standard of living also.
Also, Mr. Sesay furthered that it is no secret that currently the world economy is experiencing an unstable situation by moving downwards which is also affecting Sierra Leone’s economy, which is donor driven and the donors are also affected by this situation right across the globe.
He said Sierra Leone, like other African governments, care less to read the “fine prints”, on the terms or conditions of these concession loans particularly the high interest rates these loans carries.
Sesay said: “Apparently, due to lack of financial planning and the lack of proper oversight in managing these loans, the ability of the government to repay them becomes a daunting and difficult reality. However, on this occasion and at this 11th hour, we know what the international community is up to. They did that in Liberia to help Ellen Johnson to win its presidential election just because she was one of them and now they want to try that same nonsense in Sierra Leone.”