Prince Macauley Affirms that the Key Concern of Citizens is an Economic Recovery Plan


By Amin Kef (Ranger)

As the political tempo in the country is becoming everyday more competitive with few weeks left for Sierra Leoneans to go to the polls and politically decides, there has been concerns that the political parties that will be contesting for the votes of citizens have been late in presenting their manifestoes. Of all the registered and certified political parties eligible to contest, it is only the ruling SLPP that has presented its manifesto on the 23rd May, 2023 in Kenema, Eastern Sierra Leone.

It must be noted that whilst political parties are busy wooing voters, little is said about how they intend to revive the economy, a very important aspect in the country’s development trajectory.

Significantly, in order to win the confidence and trust of the electorates, Political Parties should convincingly  tell the people how they are going to make life better for them and such is often included in their manifestos which is why failure on the part of these Parties to timely make them available for perusal and informed political decisions has been frowned upon.

The erudite and shrewd Economist, Prince Jacob Macauley, who has been commenting on sensitive national issues, has raised the issue, calling for political parties contesting the June 24th elections to include in their manifestos, their respective plans, how they would address the economic situation in the country.

This, according to him, should relate  the bread and butter issue that the populace is longing to be adequately addressed saying if any Government focuses on that and succeeds then all other things could then follow. He maintained that for any country or any kind of development to be sustainable and impactful, then the economic situation must be the most important area to be addressed.

The Economist expressed the view that though it could be recalled that when President Bio took office in 2018 his first statement to the nation and the world, via his address to Parliament, was that he inherited a broken economy. However, for the Economist, despite that recognition and admission, Bio’s Government failed in fixing the economy.

He lamented that today the economy is on life support underscoring how the price of every commodity is dictated by the exchange rate of the dollar maintaining that currently the dollar has appreciated far above comprehension, resulting in an exponential increase of the prices of all commodities in the market and created a situation that has brought untold hardship on the populace, with families unable to have a square mean in a day.

Macauley postulated that only prudent economic policies by seasoned economists will be able to lift the country from its current state, and it is the duty of the politicians now vying for office to tell the people how they intend to fix this problem.

He pointed out that ethno-regional and party politics should not be the focus of politicians, but how they intend to address the hardship that is biting the nation.

Jacob Macauley stated that while recognizing the effect that the Ukraine war and COVID-19 had on the economy, other economies in the sub-region are making gains, whereas Sierra Leone’s economy is on the decline. He argued that we all suffered from the same global shocks, but pointed out that those countries have been able to address shocks through prudent economic policies implemented by their respective Governments.

The Economist holds the view that in the case of Sierra Leone, measures put in place to address the economy started on a wrong footing, with successive failed policies being introduced by the Bank Governor, despite warnings from Economists about the dangers of such policies, among which Macauley was a very loud voice.

Unfortunately, the textbook Economist cum Bank Governor at the Central Bank failed to heed to the alarm bells, including that from the World Bank and according to Jacob Macauley, today, the country is in a dire economic strait  because no one paid attention to those alarm bells.

Macauley noted that the President may not have the technical know-how to address the economy, but he appointed people he had trust in to do the work, and expected them to advise him on progress made, but unfortunately, these may have been selling pleasantries of an unpleasant situation to His Excellency.

He maintained that had these officials been honest to their conscience, the people and to His Excellency, they would have averted the current economic down turn that the country is in.

Against this backdrop, Macauley is calling on the political parties vying for the highest seat of the land, to tell the people how they are going to address the economic situation in the country and usher in economic recovery.

Without any serious economic recovery plan, Macauley stressed, the next Government will be doomed, be it the incumbent or any other Government. He noted that while infrastructural development is good, plans for agriculture etc are all good, but without a clear recovery plan for the economy, all those will merely be white elephants.

He said Sierra Leoneans are more concerned about what to eat, what the little resources at their disposal can buy and how their daily living conditions will be improved.

In his view, a good number of residents do not care about who holds office, but only how they can survive (the bread and butter issue).

He noted that whilst there are some people who may be voting based on sentiments, the bulk of the population want to vote on what plans the politicians have to change their story.

Therefore, enshrining in their respective manifestos plans to address the current economic situation is vital for the sake of accountability, as a manifesto is the plan of a political party of what it intends to do if voted for and if they fail to do so, they could be held to account by the populace.


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