Balancing Aspirations and Reality: A Comparative Analysis of SLPP’s 2018 Manifesto Objectives and Achievements in Developing the Financial Sector and Deepening Financial Inclusion in Sierra Leone
By the Sierra Leone Live Team
As we continue our commitment to foster transparency and hold our government accountable, Sierra Leone Live presents a comprehensive review and comparison of the government’s objectives outlined in the 2018 manifesto under the ‘New Direction,” focusing on two crucial domains: Developing the Financial Sector and Deepening Financial Inclusion. These two areas are of critical importance in fostering economic growth, reducing income inequality, and uplifting the socioeconomic conditions of our citizens.
Over the past five years, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has implemented various initiatives in line with these aims, and it’s now time to reflect and evaluate.
To help you, the citizens, gauge the success of these initiatives and whether the SLPP met its manifesto targets, we have compiled a list of 25 key questions. We designed these questions to measure the impact of these policies and their alignment with the original objectives set out in the 2018 Manifesto. By participating in this survey, you’ll be able to compare the aspirations laid out five years ago with the current reality and decide for yourself if the promises were fulfilled.
- Capacitating Bank of Sierra Leone: The Manifesto spoke about strengthening the regulation and supervisory role of the Central Bank, improving risk-based supervision of commercial banks, and reviewing the current Banking Act, among others. The achievements document highlights that the Banking Act was reviewed and revised. SLPP enacted a Deposit Protection Bill to insure small depositors against losses from market failures. The reduction in bank risk exposure, with most commercial banks having more than enough Capital Adequacy Ratio and declining non-performing loans, shows strengthened risk-based supervision.
- Strengthening Commercial Banking: The Manifesto aimed to make the commercial banking sector more competitive and align it with international best practices. The achievements document shows that the state-owned banks are now stable, with one making a profit. However, there is no mention of the review of policies and laws, development of a Code of Ethics, or strengthening of the Association of Commercial Banks that were identified in the Manifesto.
- Expanding Micro-Finance Opportunities to Potential Entrepreneurs: The Manifesto aimed to review policies and laws relating to micro-finance and strengthen micro-finance institutions. The achievements document does not provide specific information regarding these objectives.
- Re-establish Development Bank and Strengthen Commercial Banking: The goal was to re-establish the National Development Bank with private sector participation and delink community banks from the central bank and link them with the Development Bank. The achievements document doesn’t mention these specific points.
- Strengthen Non-Bank Financial Institutions: The Manifesto outlined a comprehensive review of NASSIT, a review of the NASSIT Act, and the development of a framework for regulation and supervision of NASSIT’s investment arm, among others. The achievements document shows that an institutional review of NASSIT has been conducted, and management and investment decisions have been improved. However, it does not mention the NASSIT Act review, changes to the Insurance Act 2000, or strengthening of the capital market, as mentioned in the Manifesto.
- Improving Training: The Manifesto planned to revise the curriculum for banking training in line with international standards, establish a national school of banking and finance, and organise a yearly conference on the financial sector. There’s no mention of these objectives in the achievements document.
- Overall Impact on the Sector and Financial Inclusion: The achievements document mentions an increase in the number of adults with a bank account, increased access to digital financial services, increased bank profitability, and increased deposits.
However, there is no reference point for these figures in the Manifesto.
While there have been some notable accomplishments that align with the objectives of the New Direction 2018 Manifesto, particularly in the areas of capacitating the Bank of Sierra Leone and strengthening commercial banking, several areas like expanding micro-finance opportunities, re-establishing the Development Bank, and improving training do not show clear progress based on the achievements document. It would be beneficial to have more specific metrics or KPIs to measure the achievement of these objectives more accurately.
Thank you for taking the time to go through this comparison and taking part in our survey. As engaged citizens, your role in evaluating and holding our government accountable is invaluable.
Remember, each of us has the power to make a difference. By engaging in critical discussions and using tools like these, we can continue to push for improvements, strive for excellence, and ensure that Sierra Leone moves in the right direction.
Stay informed, stay involved. Sierra Leone’s future is in our hands, and together, we can continue to make it brighter.