Unconfirmed but reliable sources from the Bank of Sierra Leone has intimated this medium that the Bio led Government found it difficult to pay salaries for January 2020, hence the reason for allegedly securing an overdraft facility. This move came as a surprise, more so when government workers were unable to get their salaries on time. Salary delay under the SLPP led Government of President Julius Maada Bio is not something new, as in less than two years in office, everything has gone berserk.
As things continue to get tough and rough for the Sierra Leone People’s Party government in handling the country’s economy, it is now clear that the ‘Paopa’ government could no longer pay salaries to government workers without taking overdraft, government workers will no longer receive their salaries within the 30 days monthly period, but rather will have to wait up to 40 days. It could be recalled that during the campaign period, the SLPP accused the then government of President Koroma of inability to pay monthly salaries to workers without borrowing and had come to rely heavily on overdrafts.
Jacob Jusu Saffa, Minister of Finance, within the first few months after assuming office as Minister boasted that will never take any overdraft to pay salaries, adding that they have been able to pay salaries without have recourse to the banks for overdraft, but investigations conducted by the Times-SL has revealed that the government on Monday 10th February 2020, took an overdraft of 40Billion Leones from Rokel Commercial Bank and Sierra Leone Commercial Bank to pay salaries for January.
Source within the government also disclosed that the reason for the delay of salaries was that the Minister of Finance had always ignored expert advices, and that the Koroma government in the last week of the month always withheld all payments for government Contractors or suppliers, so as to raise enough revenue to pay government workers, which has direct impact on the economy.
But Minister Saffa was accused of concentrating on paying contractors and suppliers, which many believe has strings attached.
Some pundits are of the view that the Koroma regime faced huge economic challenges during the Ebola Recovery Strategy, which was built on the Agenda for Prosperity and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); so they therefore had to rely on overdraft from Local Banks to meet the wage bill.
The 6 trillion target given to the National Revenue Authority (NRA) SLPP led-government has have now put lot of economic Borden on the ordinary sierra Leonean by running a tax driven economy, for a third world nation that is battling with over 55% of unemployment rate. Indicators have shown that businesses are closedown because the country is no longer business friendly.
Many hold the view that the Minister of Finance is incompetence’s to handle short a very important position which is the country portfolio and are calling for his replacement.