By Lansana Fofanah.
The Governor of the Central Bank designate, Professor Kelfala Murana Kallon yesterday met with the press at the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists Headquarters on Campbell Street in Freetown, where he highlighted key priority areas to be addressed if approved by Parliament.
Describing his plans as not official policy statement since he is yet to appear before Parliament, Professor Kallon said that he plans to trace all illegal monies transacted through the banks from Sierra Leone to other countries, to fight for the stabilization of the exchange rate of the Leone against other currencies, to fight the ‘speculative financial attacks’ on the economy and to eradicate the rampant corruption in the banking sector which has been solely responsible for the fluctuation of the Leone.
Professor Kallon said that there are legal instruments and cordial relationships between the Central Bank of Sierra Leone and other Central Banks abroad which bind them to work towards such fight, and he will use every legal instrument to enforce that.
The University Don said that the role of Central Banks is that of supervising the activities of commercial banks and to provide financial services to the government which includes, advising the government on how to carry on with running the financial sector for a stable economy.
Professor Kallon said that when he assumed office, he would ensure that all institutions that bought the recent foreign currencies that were auctioned are traced and investigated to know how they utilize them as there has been a racketeering syndicate between some of the commercial banks and some business people to buy foreign currencies at lower rates and sell them at higher rates.
Reiterating his commitment towards being professional, he said that he is much aware of the corrupt system embedded in the financial sector which he was willing to face and if he feels anytime that his professional advice is not considered by the government, he would never hesitate to resign rather than being blamed in the future.
Giving a prospect about turning around the economy, Professor Kallon said that not only monetary policy or fiscal policy can do that, but the attitude of business people towards the economy has a lot to play.
On the role and responsibility of Central Bank, Professor Kallon said that the functions of the Central Bank have been misconstrued for a long time because it has been operating in a secretive manner which has made people to be guessing its roles and it is time for the people to know the functions of the Bank and how it operates so as to raise more awareness and confidence in investors.
He said that only government and commercial banks have accounts at the Central Bank and Central Bank has the mandate to borrow the government money when necessary at the same time cautioned the government over certain policies.
He said that when it comes to generating government revenue, there have been three parties; the collector who gets a share through under valuing, the customer through corruption underpay and the government gets half of what should have been collected. This he said has been leading past administrations to borrow from the Bank since they spend more than they generate.
Professor Kallon said that he intends to run the Central Bank on an open door policy where a Community Advisory Board comprising of stakeholders from different communities will be set up to know how they assess the Bank. He emphasized on the need for commercial banks to reach deprived areas as that will increase financial inclusion.