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Sierra Leone: 20 Things You Need to Know in FY 2019 Government Budget

by Vickie Remoe

The government of Sierra Leone plans to recruit 9000 new workers in 2019 according to the budget statement presented to parliament by Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance, Mr. Jacob J. Saffa. The budget whose theme is “fiscal consolidation for human development” is now in front of the parliament for approval. Here are 20 things we learned from the budget statement, that you should know.

  1. The amount of Sierra Leoneans who are poor has increased. According to the 2018 Integrated Household Survey, 57% of Sierra Leoneans are “poor” as compared to 52.9% in 2011. 
  2. Over 87% of children in Sierra Leone in the second grade can not read at their level
  3. In Sierra Leone 1 in every 3 girls between the age of 15-19 is either already a mother or is pregnant.
  4. The minimum pension has been raised to 250,000 from 20,000. 
  5. The government made more money this year than it did the previous year. Domestic revenue generation is up by 30%. 
  6. Between 2019-2021 the economy (GDP) is projected to grow between 4.9% – 5.1% 
  7. Sierra Leone spends 7.1% of its GDP or 55% of its domestic revenue on public service wages. 
  8. The government will hire 9000 new workers; 5000 teachers, 3000 health personnel, and 1000 police officers
  9. Education sector spending will take up 21% of the budget to support Free Quality School Education and other education-related expenses. (1.14 trillion).
  10. Sierra Leone exported more in 2018 than in 2017. The total export value so far is $515 million of which palm oil, timber, and honey account for 60%. 
  11. Sierra Leone imported less in 2018 than in 2017. Imports are down across all sectors except for fuel.
  12. The budget deficit is projected to reduce by 3% (from 9% in 2017 to 6.1% in 2018).
  13. The government saved Le 2 billion on travel expenses as of the implementation of Executive Order #2 limiting all non-essential travel for government workers except with approval from State House.
  14. The health sector will take up 10% of the total budget for 2019 (Le 549 billion).
  15. All public workers will receive a 10-15 percent raise in 2019, in addition to the 10% increase received this year. 
  16. A National Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Program will be launched in 2019, primarily focused on reducing teen pregnancy rates in the country. 
  17. The House of Parliament Budget has been raised from Le12 billion in 2018 to Le14.5 billion in 2019
  18. Lumley Beach will finally get electricity, the government has allocated Le 5 billion to electrify the strip. Everyone between Atlantic and Family Kingdom has never been connected to the national grid.
  19. In 2019 all revenue for rental income over $1000 a year will be subject to taxation
  20. Personal income tax for citizens will be reduced by 5% in 2019, from 35% to 30%.

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