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Customers lose millions due to shortage of Leone coins

September 9, 2016 By Regina Pratt & Patrick J.Kamara

The low circulation of Leone coins in the country has left customers losing millions of Leones on a daily basis, as they unconditionally leave out change when buying from any outlets including petrol stations among others.

Concord Times undertook a random survey as to why coins are not sufficiently in circulation in the country.

The Leone coins are minted in the following denominations: Fifty Leones, One Hundred Leones, and Five Hundred Leones, but they are seemingly scarce in circulation in the market recently.

Sir Henry Josiah Lightfoot-Boston was the first African Governor-General of Sierra Leone and his face is carved on the Fifty Leones denomination, while the one hundred Leones denomination carried the face of King Naimbana, who was regent chief of the Koya Kingdom and the five hundred Leones carried Kai Londo’s face.

Majority of the coins were issued under the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) military junta in honour of the country’s past heroes.

President of Consumer protection Agency, Ibrahim Michael Kabia said the low circulation of Leone coins was affecting consumers as they usually part with their change.

He disclosed that when the issue of increasing transportation fare came up, it was decided at a meeting that the fares be rounded up to one thousand Leones, so as to avoid clash between drivers and passengers.

Many who spoke to Concord Times said they hardly receive coins whenever they transact business with banks, bureaus and petrol stations.

 Madam Kadi, a Cashier at one of the supermarkets said some five years back they were giving out coins as change to customers, but they stopped because they could not get enough now to give out.

She said they usually plead with customers, while they sometimes bear the brunt by giving out more than customers deserve.

On his part, Bank of Sierra Leone Public Relations officer, Beresford Taylor told Concord Times that Leone coins are in circulation.

Speaking to an economist on how the shortage of Leone coins was affecting the economy, Samuel Jamiru Brima, Lecturer at the Economics Department, Fourah Bay College said the country was exporting everything and that such was reflecting on the economy.

“Sierra Leone is not producing anything. We are producing plastic wires. We can’t feed ourselves and we rely on other countries to feed us, so how can our economy grow?” he said.

He noted that only smaller items in the country were being sold in coins denomination and that even if the Central Bank was supplying enough coins to commercial banks that would not be visible as prices of goods are above the coins denomination.

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