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Sierra Leone New President Appeals for Help Over Debt Burden

Newly elected Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has appealed for international help to bail his country out of an economic crisis.Maada blames the crisis on a huge debt incurred by his predecessor Ernest Bai Koroma for putting up an underperforming economy.

While attending an International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in Freetown, President Bio told the high level forum that he inherited a country with the worst economic state since independence in 1961, a situation, he said, had been worsened by agreements signed by his predecessor on the eve of this year’s General Election.

“With the signing of new agreements on the eve of the elections, Sierra Leone is already in a debt crisis, which in collaboration with our development partners we must urgently address,” he added.

Initial assessment by the new government of the state of the economy revealed that Sierra Leone’s external debt stands at $2 billion, while the domestic debt stands at $600 million.

After been sworn in into office on April 4, Mr. Bio set up a transition team to ascertain the state of affairs of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

According to the findings, the two state-owned commercial banks were struggling under huge under performing loan portfolios, some of which were linked to political figures in the last administration.

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