He went on to say that the argument because we don’t export much is the reason we do not have foreign exchange is not true. The real reason he said is because we have nothing to back our Leones. “Whether we export the whole, if we don’t have that back-up because Sierra Leone is not a free currency country like the Chinese that have a free currency; nothing backs their currency; government is controlling that currency. But our currency is not controlled by government. Government does not have power over our currency. Business is business and the business people control the currency. These business people are called money changers and we know them today as being bankers. The bankers are the ones controlling our money here. And the greater bank (the international bank) that is dealing with international funds is the IMF; and they are controlling our own Leones here. And if the IMF is controlling our Leones (and they do not have much interest in Sierra Leone), then you can see where the Leones is going,” he said.
He went on to say that we are not the only sufferers, adding, “Check across Africa and the world and you will see a fluctuation in fact, our currency is not considered in the international market. So for us to look for a solution, for a downturn, it’s very difficult for us to fight and revalue our currency. My only advice is government should sit with experts and see how best we can change this currency – or how best we can evaluate the currency.”
He said: “When I say change the currency people might think – what does this guy mean? It happened in Ghana some years ago. We are not changing the name of the Leones. No, the currency is still in Leones but we can revalue our Leones. By that we print a new currency and peg that particular currency to an amount. We bring new Leones and this Leones – 1 Leone is 1 US Dollar; and if you want to get this new Leones, you take the rate today. If the US Dollar is 9,000 then you spend 9,000 Leones to get this new 1 Leone; the government would print just like how Ghana did it. I think we can work it that way. That would bring the inflation down; that would bring even the figures down because my fear is we should not move to that Zimbabwe situation where to buy a stick of cigarette, you had to get a carton full of cash. We do not want to reach to that point. For me, I will advise the government to strengthen the back-up; that back-up must be strengthened.” According to him, people say to improve exportation will improve foreign exchange, but he argues that “
I do not hold the view that our currency is as it is because we do not export. I can give you a reference. Dubai was not exporting; Dubai was a transit space; they are not manufacturing they are not exporting; now they are doing some manufacturing. But their currency was stable and it still is.”
ACC Encourages Health Workers to Join the War against Graft
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Regional Office in Kenema has on the 6th August 2019 encouraged the Kenema District Health Management Team (DHMT), and ‘In-Charges’ of all Peripheral Health Units (PHUs) in Kenema District to partner with the ACC in the fight against corruption by resisting, rejecting and reporting corruption. This happened during the monthly ‘In-Charges' meeting at the Kenema District Council Hall.
ACC Public Education Officer, East, Sylvanus Blake while presenting a copy of a systems review report titled; “Strengthening Integrity in the Management of Drugs and other Medical and Related Services in Government Medical Facilities” prepared ACC, to the District Medical Officer, Kenema, Dr. Donald Grant, stated that citizens are of the view that the war against corruption is one to save the soul of this nation. He explained some of the gains recorded by the nation/ACC in the recent past in the fight against corruption and encouraged his audience to support the fight against graft which he termed as “the fight for the general good”.
Using the image of the scourge of corruption to a virus, Blake stated that the ACC has just one prescription for this virus, be it small, big or mighty that is; “it is punishable”. The Commission has one agenda, which is to fight corruption and to fight it so briskly and brutally to a successful end, Blake added. Borrowing the words of the ACC czar, Francis Ben Kaifala, Blake stated that, “the fight against corruption has been repositioned to one that is fierce, but fair”. He urged his audience to side with the truth and do righteousness always. He cautioned health workers strongly against all forms of misuse of medical facilities and resources intended to the benefit the public, stating that the ACC shall investigate and where possible charge to court anyone who commits corruption offense(s) irrespective the amount involved.
Mohamed Alhaji Jah, ACC Investigations Officer Kenema, admonished medical staff to desist from practices that constitute corruption. He explained the offenses of Soliciting and Accepting an Advantage, Abuse of Position and Office, and Misappropriation of Public/Donor Funds/Property among many others as contained in the Anti Corruption Act of 2008 linking them to the responsibilities of public officers. He stated that as public officers, they are obliged to uphold the core values of integrity, transparency and accountability at all times in the discharge of their duties.
The Kenema District Medical Officer Dr. Donald Grant expressed delight for the periodic awareness raising drive by the ACC and urged his staff to comply with best practices and procedures. He called on them to exhibit love for humanity, reject corruption and save more lives.