“New Leone, same value with better features” Bank Governor
By Alpha Kamara-TVS Washington DC
Sierra Leone has introduced its new Leone currency to increase value. At a ceremony held the Bank complex in Freetown, Bank Governor Kerfala Kallon said the denomination of the Leone, which means changing the currency from the old to the new Leone, will provide the country with another opportunity to restart economic reforms and add value to the Leone. The governor said when he announced last year that the bank is introducing the new Leone, he faced a lot of opposition from the public. “The new Leone will increase value, reduce printing cost, reduce the risk of carrying stacks of money for simple transactions. It will also be instrumental in tackling the increase of the foreign exchange rate,” he said.
New money, same value is our slogan, he added. This means, if you are buying a liter of fuel at Le 22,000, the new Leone, it will be two (2) Leone. What we did is, to knock off the three zeros (000). Therefore, the old ten thousand Leones note now becomes the new ten Leone, but the value is the same. It will buy the same quantity of items the ten thousand Leones used to get you.
Kallon said the old and new Leone will be used together during this transition phase till October 2022. “After that period, the old Leone will not be accepted anymore as legal tender,” he added.
President Julius Maada Bio said the introduction of the new Leone is one of the strategies to stabilize the economy and increase the value of the local currency. “In a world of increasing global crisis, rising costs of fuel and foodstuff, we need to take measures to be able to compete internationally with our currency. Hence, the new Leone will give us that advantage,” President Bio said.
Meanwhile, most of the citizens and the opposition are skeptical on how will the new Leone fight inflation in a country that produces very little for the international market. On Facebook, someone wrote “New Leone with hardship, same salaries and high cost of living. I am waiting to see the effect of this new Leone,”.