From the Editor’s Keyboard

My take on the IMF issue in Sierra Leone

12 February 2018 at 16:08 | 2748 views


By Abubakar Koroma., Guest Writer, Dordrecht, Holland

It amazes me to see fellow Sierra Leoneans
celebrating about the recent development on the
relationship between the government of Sierra Leone
and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the
issue of loan continuity.

Accordingly, this issue has spurred a plethora of debates and a blame-game
spearheaded especially by opposition parties who are
seeking political gain through issue expansion and
making premature statements on salient policy issues.

It could be recalled that one of the primary responsibilities
of the Ininternational Monetary Fund (IMF) is to
provide loans to countries that
are experiencing balance of payment problems.

As a consequence, the commonly called ’adjustment programmes’
are designed specifically for any individual
country that has received such loan(s), and upon
which continued loan or loans for that particular
country depends mainly on the effective implementation
of those agreed adjustment programmes. In other
words, a country can only continue to secure future
loans after fulfilling what has been agreed upon earlier
between the government and the IMF.

Essentially, adjustment programmes vary from one
country to the other. The reason for this is simply
due to the fact that each country has different
circumstances and different financial needs. However,
in an event where a country failed or delayed to fulfill
certain measures, that could lead to suspension or delay
in ongoing loans disbursement for that particular country until
necessary adjustment programmes are made.

In the case of Sierra Leone, the IMF has made it clear
in its press release that:
"The key reason for the delay is due to a weak
budget revenue outlook where measures that
were to be taken under the programme to increase
revenue did not yield. The IMF is currently working
with the government to identify appropriate corrective
measures that can be taken and when."

Deducing from the above statement from the IMF two
things come to the fore: First, appropriate measures
ought to be taken by the government under this
loan programme have been delayed. Secondly,
not withstanding this fact, both the IMF and the
government are working together in an effort to
fix such omissions. This means there is a working
relationship between the government of Sierra Leone
and the International Monetary Fund as opposed to
the alleged claims by many that the IMF has stopped
its funding to the country.

Nothing is new as far as the dealings between the IMF
and the government of Sierra Leone are concerned.
Hence expanding such an issue accompanied by
premature utterances for political gain
does not reflect reality.

Sierra Leone is a sovereign nation which should not be intimidated by any means
whatsoever, by any entity. Especially not now when the country is just weeks away to elections.