Sierra Leone’s Financial Secretary Sahr Lahai Jusu yesterday Monday 16th August 2021 relinquished the role as chairman of the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ) Technical Committee, a position he has occupied since February 2020.
In his opening remarks at the 49th meeting (virtual) of the Technical Committee of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), the outgoing chairman Sahr Lahai Jusu thanked members of the Technical Committee for their support during his tenure as chairman.
“Let me use this opportunity to express, on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone, and on my behalf, appreciation, and gratitude to all of you for the resolute support in steering the affairs of the Technical Committee of WAMZ during these trying times in our journey towards monetary and economic integration,” he added.
He continued that, during 2020, the global economy plummeted by 3.2 percent with advanced economies contracting by an even greater margin of 4.6 percent. And that Sub-Saharan African (SSA) economies declined by a relatively lower magnitude of 1.8 percent. Sahr Just stated that the globe is beginning to see signs of recovery around.
Stating that In 2021, the global economy is projected to rebound by around 6.0 percent while SSA economies are expected to recover by 3.4 percent. According to him, the third wave of COVID-19 infections in several countries combined with the mutations of the virus has created tremendous uncertainty in the global and domestic economy.
“In this interconnected global economy, we can only continue to be hopeful that the current momentum of global recovery continues,” he added.
In the WAMZ, the chairman reported that the global pandemic and the corresponding measures adopted by member countries to contain the disease and the unfavorable external environment impacted negatively on macroeconomic performance in 2020, noting that real GDP growth dipped while inflationary pressures rose due to disruptions to global and local supply chains. He furthered that Fiscal deficits widened as the domestic revenues shrank while expenditures surged.
With exchange rates depreciated due to weak export performance and general uncertainty caused by the disease, these challenges he said undermined the ability of member countries to sustain the improved performance on the convergence criteria during 2020.
The Financial Secretary Sahr Jusu reiterates the commitment of the Government of Sierra Leone to the implementation of sound economic policies and structural reforms including governance reforms to boost resilience and accelerate economic recovery, in line with our National Development Plan.
“We are also fully committed to the protocols to promote greater sub-regional integration in the area of trade, free movement of people and goods, statistical harmonization, among others. We are also committed to implementing policies to enable us to meet the macroeconomic convergence criteria for the introduction of the single currency,” he stated.
Sahr Jusu reminded his colleagues that the economies of the WAMZ region continue to remain vulnerable to external shocks and domestic economic circumstances and implications for achieving macroeconomic convergence, and therefore an urgent member state to build the capacity of their countries to withstand the shocks.
“Therefore, I would like to urge member countries of the WAMZ to continue to pursue stronger policies aimed at supporting macroeconomic stability, sustainable growth, higher employment, and poverty reduction,” he said.