The erudite development Economist, Finance Minister Jacob Jusu Saffa, has flown out of the country to attend the African Development Bank’s annual meetings in Busan, South Korea. At the ADB’s Governors and Alternate Governors of the Bank meetings, major issues relating to financing development are discussed.
Addressing journalists in Freetown before his departure, Mr. Saffa said that his objective goes beyond just attending the Governors’ meeting. He said that he would also be able to engage financial and investment institutions to return to Sierra Leone.
Mr. Jusu recalled that donors had turned their backs on Sierra Leone in the final months of Ernest Bai Koroma’s Presidency. The former President, he said, handed over a wrecked economy. There is a need, he said, for serious surgical actions to heal the sick economy.
Mr. Saffa said that his immediate focus is to inform Sierra Leone’s partners about the good work that His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has started, as well as to work with them to restore good economic governance.
The Finance Minister will also hold discussions with the President of Africa’s Apex Bank about much-needed support to finance the new government’s development activities.
Among the Ministers delegation to South Korea are Mr. Sahr Lahai Jusu, the country’s new Financial Secretary who doubles as the Alternate Governor of the ADB; Mr. Alimamy Bangura, the Director of Economic Policy; and Mr. Peter Sam-Kpakra, the Deputy Financial Secretary.
Mr. Jusu told newsmen that he will work with his team to rebrand economic governance in Sierra Leone, and enhance and sustain domestic revenue mobilisation strategy with donors aimed at automating and consolidating revenue collection.
Asked when the government will lift the suspension on duty and tax waivers, Mr. Jusu said that the government has established a Committee headed by Herbert McLeod, Director of International Growth Centre for Sierra Leone and Liberia, to review current policy and practices on concessions, duty and tax waivers granted by government.
He said that the review will be transparent, noting that the Committee’s members are professionals of proven track record and expertise, including representatives of Civil society.
Asked whether he is traveling business or economy class, Mr. Jusu said that he will continue to travel economy class until some level of economic stability is restored.