The Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, has assured Sierra Leoneans that COVID19 will not affect the implementation of the 2020 budget and the National Medium-term Development Plan.
COVID-19 may not affect the 2020 Budget Implementation -Minister of Finance
Mr. Saffa made this statement on Wednesday, 10th June, during the popular Good Morning Sierra Leone Programme on Radio Democracy on 98.1 F.M.
“It is expected that when there is a drop in revenue or slowdown in economic activities, budget implementation will be affected. The essence of proactive leadership, we anticipated that and move fast to mobilize external resources to back us up, so that the revenue loss will not affect the implementation of the 2020 Budget,” he said.
Under his leadership and support of the entire economic management team, the Minister stated that the Government so far with a credible programme has mobilize additional resources from partners like $143M from IMF which is highly concessional, $25 from the Islamic Development Bank, $25M budget support for energy, $100M from the World Bank and $10M from the European Union.
Mr. Saffa went on to state that Government is going to implement different projects on road, electricity, water, agriculture, and youth empowerment, as stated in the 2020 Budget. He said these projects will not only bring service delivery to the people but also create job opportunities that will put food on the table and address the ‘bread and butter’ issue.
After cataloging numerous economic downbeat that the new direction administration inherited in 2018, the Minister of Finance has assured Sierra Leoneans the country has been on the road of recovery despite inherited a country in austerity.
“We inherited a situation where the growth rate was staggering around 3.5% in 2017 and in 2019 the overall economic growth rate move to 5.1%, in 2017 we lack donor confidence and credibility, and we were out of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme completely, and when that happens by extension you will have problem with other partners like World Bank, Department for International Development (DfID), but we were able to restore that relationship in eight months. Also, in 2018, we meet a situation where inflation was at 18%. By the end of 2019, inflation was at 14%,” according to the Minister.
The Minister admitted the COVID-19 has negatively impacted the economy, but noted that the Government is on track in ensuring that they cushion the impact through the Quick Action Economic Response Programme (QAERP) with the overall goal of maintaining macro-economic and financial stability and mitigates the impact of the COVID-19 on businesses and households.