Textbook Economist !
Stupid Economy !
Rotten Redenomination !
Failed Cash Policy !
Economic Recession !
Bank Governor Should Resign
By Sall Tee Jay
Central Bank Governor, Professor Kelfala Kallon, seems to have lost control of the economy through his application of old-age economic ideas in modern day economic situations. Since he was appointed by President Julius Maada Bio as Bank Governor four years ago, Professor Kallon has woefully failed to translate his classroom economics into reality, and has consistently disappointed President Julius Maada Bio, thereby causing serious headache for his government. There are other school of thoughts who hold the view that instead of bringing in the “classroom economist, whose entire life has been spent in the classroom”, President Bio should have retained Patrick Conteh, who was Central Bank Governor at the time he took office. It is believed that Professor Kallon is enjoying the blessing of President Bio, alledgedly through his brother, Kabineh Kallon, the current Minister of Transport and Aviation. Kabineh Kallon, according to investigation, is a very strong ally of President Bio, and is believed to have played a vital role in settling family disputes within the family circle of President Bio. Therefore, President Bio is finding it difficult to ask the classroom economist to resign, simply to maintain his close and personal relationship with Kabineh Kallon. Some senior government officials, who spoke to this writer on condition of anonymity, said it is now the time for the Bank Governor to take his exit and allow people who have what it takes to perform to occupy that seat.
Public concerns in relation to some of the poor and out-dated policies of the Central Bank Governor are that it is better for him to resign than to be allowed to send Sierra Leone to the worse direction.
Bank Governor, Professor Kelfala Kallon, has got it all wrong, despite claiming to be a seasoned economist. Professor Kallon’s tenure in office has caused more headaches for the Bio Government than any time in the history of Sierra Leone. Concerns are that the old-age textbook economist has got nothing to offer, other than bringing policies and wrong choices that have led to the abysmal performance of the country’s economy. Some school of thoughts believe that most of the policies formulated by the Bank Governor, lacked what it takes to turn around the country’s economy. There is also the belief that his latest retraction of recent unprogressive policies, such the cash limit on withdrawals, has led to a situation where business people are now finding it very hard to trade in the Leone among themselves, due to the escalating value of the dollar to the Leone, coupled with the irrelevant changing of the currency and minting of coins, have all compounded the problems responsible for the continuous depreciation of the Leone.
Many say that Professor Kallon has lost his relevance, especially as all his policies have turned out to be counter-productive, and have only plunged the country into more economic chaos and hardship. Professor Kallon had been earlier advised by top Economists, who have their wits about them; like Prince Jacob Macauley, that his policies will be counter-productive. He even stressed that the new currency will be dead on arrival, and even called for a rethink, but the egocentric Professor refused to listen. Today the country is in financial mess, with the dollar flying like a kite that has gone out of control.
It could be recalled that since Professor Kallon took up leadership of the Bank of Sierra Leone, he has introduced lots of policies that have all been counter-productive. His first move was the auction of the dollar, which was done on several occasions, leading him to say that he had bribed the banks to the tune of over 68 million dollars. This move was condemned by World Bank experts at a conference held at the Radisson Blu hotel in Freetown, in which he was present. Then he reverted to the introduction of a limit on the amount of dollar that people could have in their hands, including other financial institutions like the bureaus. This failed woefully, Then he advised the government to print more currencies (old Leone), which was done several times within these four years. That also failed. He then came up with the redenomination of the currency, which was introduced on 1st July this year. As the currency hit the market, some Le800 billion disappeared, taken out of the banks by various customers legally. This policy also failed. He then introduced limitation to the amount of cash people and corporate institutions should withdraw, which became the nail to the coffin, as businesses became cash-strapped, having to pay for services etc. Hoarding of the currency became the order of the day. It is natural that if you cannot get what you want from your account in the bank, the sensible thing to do is to continue to withdraw until you get what you want and then hold on to your cash for future use. Seeing the plight of others, many customers decided to hold on to their cash. Since this policy failed, Governor Kallon then lifted the limit on withdrawals. As the date for the cessation of the use of the old Leone draws near, Professor Kallon again has extended the date to end of March 2023. All what this shows is the incompetence of the Bank Governor, and suggests that he was merely engaged in a game of ‘think of any number’.
Despite all these failures, the government has still not thought it fit to show him the exit door and replace him with more competent people. Many are of the opinion that Professor Kallon’s place is the classroom and not head of the Central Bank. As he still remains the Bank Governor, he will soon introduce another failed policy of auctioning the dollar. When will common sense prevail and the country rid of this failed ‘Textbook Economist’?