Governor of Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) has disclosed that President Ernest Bai Koroma's portrait would be used on the new Le10,000 note while the Le5,000 note would carry that of the late former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.
Dr. Patrick Saidu Conteh, who was speaking last Friday at the Governor's annual dinner held at Bintumani conference centre, Aberdeen, Freetown on the theme 'Promoting Inclusive Growth through Financial Inclusion' said the new notes would be inaugurated at the 60th Independence Anniversary celebration in 2021.
In his forty minutes speech, the Central Bank Governor said in recent years the major initiative of the Bank had been to promote an inclusive financial system to support private sector led growth, in line with government's overarching objective of building more diversified and inclusive economy with a view to maintaining integrity, resilience and stability of the financial system.
He said achieving these goals would require a blend of policies that would create the enabling environment to encourage financial innovation and promote the establishment of relevant institutions to drive inclusive growth for all.
The 15th Governor of the Central Bank of Sierra Leone said the global growth outlook for 2018 and 2019 was positive signal for Sierra Leone's economy, especially the recovery in commodity prices which would improve the performance of the country's balance of trade.
He said in the second half of 2017 real economic activities were lower than expected, with mix performances across key sectors of the economy, thus expecting growth to rebound to 6.1% in 2018.
"The banking sector is stable, safe and sound. We have observed significant improvements in key financial soundness indicators like capital adequacy, liquidity position, asset quality, corporate governance and earrings performance," he said.
Dr. Conteh stated that BSL was far ahead in reviewing the Bank of Sierra Leone Act and Banking Act to march up with emerging problems in the financial sector, adding that in the coming weeks the Bank would roll out their strategic plan for 2018-2020.
He said the Bank was crippled with debtors but that they were determined to roll out aggressive policy directives that would cause embarrassment to defaulters.
In a brief statement, President Koroma said he was pleased with the Bank's decision to print his portrait and that of the late former President Ahmad Tejan Kabba on new notes the Bank would introduce in 2021.
"I am well pleased with the Bank to eventually use my portrait and that of the late President Tejan Kabbah in the new bank notes intended for the 60th independence anniversary celebration in 2021. I will be in my retirement at that time. I hope that as you launch that note I would be able to grace that ceremony. President Kabbah is not with us and let us hope and pray that I would be around," he said.
President Koroma said the Bank's recent policy design to promote financial inclusion was undoubtedly to complement the initiative of government to increase service delivery to vulnerable communities as part of efforts to alleviate poverty in the country.
He also welcomed the initiative of the Bank to renew its constitutive legislation and structures and ensuring that they were able to conform to emerging challenges in the domestic, regional and global economic environment.
He noted that his government was committed to providing the necessary infrastructure to reduce the cost of inter-mediation, including the supply of electricity.
Commenting on the forthcoming general elections, President Koroma assured everyone that his government was committed to conducting peaceful, free, fair and credible elections.
"My government is committed to peaceful free and fair elections. We believe it is fundamental to our economic growth and with successful elections Sierra Leone would be transformed to the league of nations that are considered to be democratically matured. We have had transition from one leader to the other. This is also going to be a transition from me to somebody else from any political party. But whilst we effect that transition, I still have the responsibility to ensure that we maintain law and order in the country to ensure that there is a peaceful election and that at the end of the activities of 7th of March, the outcome would be a reflection of the will of the people of Sierra Leone," he said.