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Deputy Information Minister admits economic downturn, assures revival

June 16, 2016 By Alusine Sesay

The Deputy Minister of Information and Communications allayed the fears of the public over the current economic status of the country, saying that the government was working round the clock to get the economy back on its feet.

Cornelius Deveaux said the weekly government presser at his ministry’s conference hall that, many factors were responsible for the current economic downturn, adding that people should not be pessimistic because the situation was not peculiar to the country.

He said people who are following the news would agree with him on recent development in Nigeria, where the government is implementing austerity measures and at the same time putting measures in place to stabilise the local currency, Naira, against the US dollar.

“This sometimes happen even in developed nations like England and other developed countries in the world,” he said.

He further stated that the country’s economy suffered a twin shock at the same time, adding that before the Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone was one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

He pointed out that the price of Iron Ore reduced sharply in the world market just as the Ebola virus struck.

“These accumulated problems among other things unleashed a heavy blow on the country’s budding economy. The Iron was one of the largest revenue generating means of the country. Our import is very high and our export still low,” he said.

He spoke on measures being put in place by the government, through the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Sierra Leone to address depreciation of the country’s currency, the Leones, noting that almost all big contracts were awarded in dollars and that such devalued the local currency.

“Our economy is donor driven and direct foreign investment assisted. For this reason, our remedy now as a nation is to build small medium enterprise driven economy by supporting the establishment of more startups across the country,” he said.

He said government had invested huge sums of money in ongoing infrastructural development projects across the country, adding ‘‘You must be aware that government is taking a lead role in funding road works across the country.”

He reiterated that since the nation was experiencing economic downturn, measures were being put in pace to cut down unnecessary government spending.

“We should not spend lavishly what we do not have and procurement policies will also be revisited to ensure the right things are done in line with fiscal discipline,” he said.

He said government believes in inclusive governance as getting ordinary people involved in the affairs of the state was a cardinal principle of democratic good governance.

He further noted that all must brace up to set a good mechanism to improve on national revenue mobilisation and that despite the current situation, government was doing everything possible to fix roads, improve the agriculture sector and also position the country as the hub for multinational investments.

 “Addressing issue of national concern is the business of every Sierra Leonean,” Deveaux maintained, adding that the recent circulation of text message from the President was a demonstration of how the government was getting the people involved in addressing issues that border around the collective goals of the country.

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