Within the past few weeks, the rise of the US dollar as compared the leone caused a major rise in the prices of commodities thereby affecting greatly the standard of living of the average Sierra Leonean. In just under a week the price of dollar has risen from Le9,000 to Le10,000 per $1 which has left everyone alarmed in the country.
Mariama Charles a hair dresser and business woman said since the era of the late President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah to date, the dollar has continued to rise and each time they as business people really face the brunt of it all as they are the ones travelling in and out of the country to buy goods for sell.
Because they buy these goods at a rather high price, they now have to sell at a high price so they too will make some profit which makes business very slow as most people would not really be able to buy at the prices commodities are sold.
She also reiterates that even local commodities like pepper, onions, okra etc; suffer from the rise of dollar which makes standard of living for the poor man a distress.
The CEO of Get the Looks Saloon Fulamatu Haja also complained about effect the rise of the dollar on businesses and how the heavy taxation on importers also makes market really hard on everybody.
Yusuf Sesay a black market dollar dealer said 80% of what people use in Sierra Leone is imported and to import goods, foreign currency is needed, hence the government should be able to disburse foreign currency around so it will be accessible. He said since people do not export, foreign currency does not flow and businesses suffer. Also, banks cannot really give out the US dollar in large quantity or sell at the government rate thereby making the supply of dollar very low in comparison to the demand which contributes to inflation in the market. He continued to say they as dealers can only serve as a midpoint to make dollar accessible to individuals and small business owners travelling to and from Guinea and Gambia since the banks seldom liquidate the US dollar.