A little over a month ago, the Office of the President issued a statement and sent broadcast message to every cell phone user in the country appealing that every Sierra Leonean negotiates and transacts in Leone in a bid to help transform the depreciating Leone against the US Dollar.
“I call on fellow Sierra Leoneans to buy, sell, lease, rent, hire and transact all businesses in LEONE. Together we can save our currency,” President Ernest Bai Koroma said in the text.
His appeal appeared to lack any punitive regulatory measures to try to enforce the de-dollarisation of the Sierra Leonean economy, with many in the business community saying they prefer the security of the U.S. currency.
The Minister of Information and Communications, Mr. Mohamed Bangura was heard on the BBC revealing that the wallet of the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma contains only Leone; no foreign currency will be found in it.
That created mix-feelings among Sierra Leoneans, but was accepted as a strategy to get nationals obey the demand of the President.
That move by the President according to Sierra Leoneans has been undermined by the Office of the Vice President, Dr. Victor Bockarie Foh recently, following a press release issued by the said office telling Sierra Leoneans that the Hajj Fee is USD 5, 000. The release breeds paranoia among party stalwarts of the Ruling All People’s Congress Party and Government Officials.
The move to mention dollar in the release has been viewed by a cross-section of the citizenry as betrayal to the President and his effort to save the country’s currency; Leone from further depreciation as compared to its counterpart, dollar.
Just yesterday, reports circulating on social media alleged that a Nassit Worker who went to Commercial Bank to pay in Leones the five thousand dollars hajj fees recently announced by the office of the Vice President had his teller rejected on basis that the committee would not accept the Leones; apparently only the dollars.
A passer by who decided to intervene in the matter was said to have received the shock of his life after He had requested that they accept the Leones money but they refused and referred them to one of the Bank Managers who subsequently refused as well.
This development has to an extent created some doubts in government really serious and sincere in dealing with the affairs of the ordinary man.