SLL Audio News
SLL Audio News

Susan George, A Fate Worse Than Debt: “Debt is an efficient tool. It ensures access to other peoples’ raw materials and infrastructures on the cheapest possible terms”.

Is it right for our present rulers to surrender the daily activities of running the government to a neocolonial financial institution like the International Monetary Fund we never voted for to govern us? The International Monetary Fund does not represent anybody other than their country. What this means in practice is that the United States runs our country. So don’t be surprised if you’re walking around a white man’s land and you’re referred to as one of their neat modern slaves.

Interestingly, looking at Sierra Leone today and you would find that the figures are swinging down. Education standards are going down, chances of getting a daily bread are going down, health standards are going down and checks and balances are literally breaking up.

Hypocritically, whilst the International Monetary Fund is telling us to cut down expenditures in social amenities through their so-called “Structural Adjustment Programme”, back in the United States, their government is pushing ahead concretely with the need to improve spending in the area of social amenities for their nationals. This cast serious doubts about the leadership qualities of our government officials. To many, it shows a lack of vision and a sense of unpatriotic act from those we elect to govern us. To date, one can reliably say with all sense of objectivity that our politicians keep on failing us by not putting their personal interests aside and doing what is right for the general good.

International Monetary Fund representatives inside Sierra Leone and other developing countries are living in subsidised housing, complete with free furniture and an extended assignment, a mobility premium to defeat the cost of child education. Their salaries are tax-free and averaged $86,000 back in 1995, according to a General Accounting Office report to Congress. And NO structural adjustments programme for this privileged coterie of bankers and policy analysts.

Meanwhile, here in Sierra Leone, despite the fact that the International Monetary claimed to be here fighting genuinely to eradicate poverty in partnership with our government, with all our huge mineral resources, a small population coupled with a high percentage of youth which the International Monetary Fund should have capitalised on with concrete technological skills, industrialised electricity and other means of education to process our resources internally and create employment facilities to efficiently boost our economy, a hidden genocide lays waste the country via their so-called Structural Adjustments Programme which our government was well prepared to endorsed immediately the International Monetary Fund knocked their door with a paper in their hands to sign any part of it.

The International Monetary Fund is supposed to seek consultations with civil society organisations and other pressure groups to allow the people to have their say in running their country before concluding any salient decision that has to do with the lives of the people. Here in Sierra Leone, we didn’t see this at all and this continue to cast doubts in the minds of objective nationals whether the International Monetary Fund and the current government are really genuinely representing the interests of the people or whether the International Monetary is in Sierra Leone to partner with corrupt state officials to make money at the expense of the country and its people.

It will be recalled that the International Monetary Fund has been accused in many quarters around the globe of partnering with corrupt governments in third-world countries to exploit countries and their citizens. For instance, the International Monetary Fund’s defunct “structural adjustment programme” states that they should lend enough to prevent default on international loans that are about to come due and otherwise would be unpayable”. This Is nonsensical, to say the least.

There are supposed to be careful country-by-country investigations to ensure that money loaned is spent wisely or at least in the interest of the people or country. And there are punitive measures when a country failed to meet the laid down standards. Why are they brushing the laid down rules and regulations aside and keep on lending governments that failed to meet their set standards? Sound highly suspicious, isn’t it? Common sense needs to break out in this whole International Monetary Fund’s frequent excuses in our country.

This further created doubt as to whether Structural Adjustment Programme is the correct economic reform our country needs to grow in the first place. Because it’s now evident that the key issue with this Structural Adjustment Programme kind, however, is whether they build the capacity to recover and whether they promote long-term development. So far, the adjustments the International Monetary Fund and the Sierra Leone Government are bluffing with have nothing to write home about with respect to real development that has to do with the genuine good of the country and its people.

From what we are experiencing here in Sierra Leone, the so-called Structural Adjustment Programme is currently undermining democracy and democratic accountability, of the International Monetary Fund, which of cause has no one to be accountable to, but also the Sierra Leone government as corrupt governments officials can use Structural Adjustment Programme as an excuse not to cater for the majority despite the fact that their cabal members are living in flamboyant lifestyles beyond their normal earning powers.

They must be ghosts.

The truth is, in some cases, we are made to understand that corrupt governments borrowed money from the International Monetary Fund directly from various donor nations and ended up using that money to pursue personal interests or to divert resources away from their people. So we have every reason to be concerned about the level at which the International Monetary Fund’s name is playing in the current deplorable economic situation in our country.

We are told by Joseph Stieglitz, a one-time Economics Noble Price Winner, economic adviser to the Clinton administration in the United States, currently a Professor at Columbia University and former top worker of the International Monetary Fund that ” in most cases, the International Monetary Fund corruption is done knowingly with the support of various rogue rulers and top officials of the International Monetary Fund due to their own personal interests”.

Quoting Oxfam,” it would be wrong to hold civilians to ransom by placing stringent conditions on basic necessities of life because of the way their government spends its money”.

Furthermore, it has been argued and established that Structural Adjustment Programme encourages corruption and undermines democracy. As Ann Petitfor and Joseph Hanlon note, top-down ” conditionality has undermined democracy by making elected governments accountable to Washington-based institutions instead of to their own people”. The potential for unaccountability and corruption, therefore, increase as we are currently experiencing with our current government officials.

Where are the leadership qualities in our present government in signing a document that asked them to drastically cut down on essential investments in health, education and other essentials of life and put the already suffering majority in more miserable conditions than before? Why did our government fail to understand that we need these investments before we can compete internationally? Why are they dancing to the International Monetary Fund’s intention in pushing a weak Sierra Leone economy into the market by agreeing with the International Monetary Fund to reduce state support and protection for social and economic sectors?

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