By Sam Pratt
The First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) David Lipton has on the 27th January 2020 advised the Government of Sierra Leone to consider accelerating efforts in mobilizing domestic revenue to avoid indebtedness.
He added that the IMF’s goal is delivery, noting that the Fund is happy that such is the focus of the Government.
“Very importantly, the Government needs to be developing strong enough potential for the mobilization of domestic revenues so that it doesn’t end up overborne by debt,” Lipton said at a meeting with Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa.
According to Lipton, his mission to the country included engaging the Government on how it could attain this.
He added that the visit is also an opportunity for him to visit some of the subjects that the Government is placing emphasis on development priorities, like education, human capital development, technology and infrastructure.
“I hope to gain some insight here, and to hear also about your development plans and I also hope to exchange views with a wide range of people including those in Government,” he said.
It is his first visit to the country and it comes as Sierra Leone seeks to strengthen relations with the IMF which suspended support to the country in late 2017.
Lipton met with President Julius Maada Bio on Tuesday.
The Minister of Finance Mr Jacob Jusu Saffa has regarded the recent visit by the First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a pointer to the fact that Sierra Leone is on track on its economic transformation trajectory.
He made that statement during a cocktail hosted by the Vice President Dr Juldeh Jalloh in honor of the IMF First Deputy Managing Director and team.
“There are over 50 countries in Africa and to decide on which country to visit always arise big debates in the IMF. So for a country to be selected could mean two things; one, you are doing very well, two, you are on track and they want you to stay on track,” he said.
According to him, his impression is that Sierra Leone is on track, and assured the IMF that Sierra Leone will continue to stay on track.
He said Government is not staying on track because they want money from IMF, but they are staying on track because it is the right thing to do and it is part of the Government agenda according the New Direction Manifesto.
In trying to highlight the challenges they are facing as a Government, he said 30-35 percent of Government revenues are used to settle Government debt or arrears noting that the depth of the problems they inherited is enormous.
“But we can’t keep using that all the time, which is why we were elected,” he said.