13 February 2017

Sierra Leone: Bank Governor Assures Control of Inflation

Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone has assured the bank's determination to get inflation under control while nearing the point of exchange rate stability.

Dr. Kaifala Marah was speaking yesterday at the Bintumani International Conference Centre in Freetown during the opening of the 34th meeting of the Committee of Governors of Central Banks of the West Africa Monetary Zone, where he was elected to serve as Chairman for the next six month.

He said the bank continues to implement key reforms to deepen financial market and strengthen stability on the national payment system in collaboration with stakeholders.

He, however, opined that on the domestic front, the country was currently contending with the hike in prices resulting from exchange rate depreciation and domestic food supply shocks.

While noting that the recent upward adjustment of domestic prices of petroleum products also brought additional pressure on domestic prices of goods, Dr. Marah stated that they were actively improving the financial infrastructure and building robust institutions for effective policy harmonisation.

"We have intensified oversight of the national payment system by monitoring payment facilities, with specific reference to the inter-bank payment platform. Sierra Leone remains committed to the ECOWAS WAMZ integration agenda," he said.

Acting in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Association of Commercial Banks, the Bank Governor informed the gathering that they were concluding preparation for the implementation of the national switch, which would improve inter-bank activity, including replacing existing ATMs with new ones.

Regarding the country's performance of WAMI's Macroeconomic Convergence criteria, he stated that the country has been consistent in achieving at least three of the primary criteria for the last three years even though it deteriorated at the end of June, 2016, because of challenges both globally and domestically.

He assured of their determination to continue pursuing policies that would enable the country establish compliance with all four primary criteria.

He ended up by urging his colleague governors that as they discussed pertinent issues, they should not lose sight of the Euro zone crisis, including BREXIT which is threatening regional integration and also intensifying effort as member states by establishing a monitoring union and a common market that can endure the test of time.

Also speaking, Director General of the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI), Dr. Abwaku Englama noted that the economies of countries of the WAMZ have been hit by adverse endogenous and exogenous shocks in the past few years.

He added that quoting and trading in WAMZ national currencies remain a challenge for member states.

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