“He bribed almost $ 70 million to hoarders, introduced the New Leone and depreciated the currency further” Records.
By Alpha Kamara in Washington D.C.
Sierra Leone Bank Governor Dr. Kelfala Kallon has been sent on an indefinite leave by the president. Kallon will be replaced by his deputy Dr. Ibrahim Stevens. This is according to a news post from SierraEye. No official statement on the sacking was released by the president’s office.
Dr. Kallon was appointed in 2018 after the current government came to power. He promised to reduce the country’s high inflation rate and tackled the economic problems. But most citizens believe he has only increased the poor state of the country’s economic crisis and depreciated the Leone further.
In July 2022, through his guidance, Sierra Leone introduced “The new leone”. His theory was to slow down the high inflation rate. The bank said the “Old leone” denominations will only remain legal tender and continue to circulate for the next three months. But that never worked. Now, the bank has announced that the old Leone will continue to be used till March 2024 forcing citizens to use both the old and the new Leone. Inflation continues to erode the purchasing power of the Leone, averaging over 20% a year as the cost of living continues to rise.
In 2021, the Bank Governor said “the Bank of Sierra Leone wasted US $68 million to bribe people who were hoarding the Leones to bring it into the banking system in order to stabilize the economy.” That too did not work. Speaking on AYV TV in 2022, Governor Kallon said the new Leone will boost the economy and reduce the inflation rate. But that has been the reverse.
Last week, the Bank Governor published a statement saying that the government’s decision to phase the old Leone out of circulation has been postponed and will now come into effect in March next year (2024), as the central bank struggles to convince people to turn in their stock of old Leones.
In January 2022, “The leone currency depreciated against the USD by 44.27%” according to Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins University. He also said the introduction of the new leone will continue to hurt the country’s economy further.
President Bio has changed three finance ministers since he took overpower. But the ‘poor performing’ bank governor has been untouched despite the several economic red flags.
Some Sierra Leoneans have been responding on twitter to the news of the sacking of the bank governor. Others believe the president took the action quietly to avoid another backlash few months to a keen contested election after several hishaps.
Salone Finance wrote “Sierra Leone’s Central Bank Governor Kallon Leaves Office/sacked amidst Inflation Rate Spike, an increase to 38.48 percent in January 2023 from 37.09 percent in December of 2022.
Brima B “The recent appointment of the new Sierra Leone Bank Governor doesn’t surprise me. Africa will never see its best if ministerial positions are made purely in tribal lines and party affiliations. Some sensitive positions should be occupied by people with vase knowledge and talents.”
As of today March 15th 2023, the exchange rate from the Leone to the US dollar 0.00051. This means one thousand US Dollars is also twenty million Leones (old leones).