Bank of Sierra Leone

Sub-region: 


 Governor 

 Dr Kaifala Marah

Headquarters Freetown, Sierra Leone
Established
Currency Leone - SLL (ISO Code )
Website www.bsl.gov.sl

Brief History
Prior to the establishment of the BANK OF SIERRA LEONE, the West Africa Currency Board was responsible for the issue of currency in Sierra Leone. It was obliged to buy and sell the currency it had issued, the West African Pound, at fixed rates against the Sterling in London.

Following the attainment of independence in 1961 however, the need was felt for a separate monetary institution controlled by Sierra Leone. In his 1962/63 Budget Speech, the then Minister of Finance asserted, "No independent country can regard itself as truly independent until it has its own national currency. The time is not too distant when Sierra Leone too will have its own central bank".

Preliminary arrangements for the establishment of a central bank including the drafting of the legislation then commenced. On 27th March, 1963, the Bank of Sierra Leone Act became law and the Bank began operation on 4th August, 1964, the day Sierra Leone changed to the decimal system of currency.

VISION

To "create a modern, effective and dynamic Central Bank that serves the overall financial, growth and development requirements of Sierra Leone, within the framework of a harmonised sub-regional financial system, and consistent with the demands of a globalised economic and financial environment".

MISSION

To "formulate and implement monetary and supervisory policies to foster a sound economic and financial environment. To this end, the Bank aims at building and maintaining a strong and efficient organization with highly motivated professional employees working in the best interest of Sierra Leone".

CORE VALUES

The Bank's core values of merit, relevance, leadership, partnership, and equity will guide the activities and behaviour of the Board of Directors, Management and Staff towards the achievement of its Vision, and related daily interactions, and decision.



What does the Bank do
The objectives of Bank of Sierra Leone as spelt out in the Bank of Sierra Leone Act 2000 are:

  • The promotion of monetary stability and a sound financial structure;
  • The maintenance of the internal and external values of the Leone;
  • The promotion of credit and exchange conditions conducive to the balanced growth of the economy;
  • The issuing and distribution of notes and currency in the country;
  • The formulation and implementation of monetary policy;
  • Banker and adviser to the Government in financial and economic matters;
  • The managing of domestic as well as foreign debt;
  • Acting as custodian of the country's reserve of approved foreign exchange;
  • Acting as banker to the Commercial Banks;
  • The supervision and regulation of the activities of commercial banks and other Financial Institutions to ensure the health of the financial system;
  • The administration of the operations of Structural Adjustment Programs where the bank has specific responsibilities.

Annual Reports

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Major national indicators in brief

AttachmentSize
PDF icon Sierra Leone’s National Indicators1.35 MB
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Publications

Central Bank Statutes:

The Bank of Sierra Leone Act,2011 being an Act to continue in existence the Bank of Sierra Leone, to ensure monetary stability and to provide for other related matters.

The Banking Act 2011 being an Act to provide for the licensing of persons carrying deposit-taking business the regulation of deposit-taking activities, the protection of depositors and to provide for related matters with a view to developing and promoting an efficient banking and financial system in Sierra Leone.

The Other Financial Services Act being an Act to make provision for the licensing regulation and supervision of institutions carrying on financial activities other than banking and for related matters.

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Statistics

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Indicators of Convergence

According to the West African Monetary Zone Programme, in order to achieve harmonization the following criteria should be observed: -

Primary Criteria

  • Fiscal Deficit (excluding grants) in percent of GDP < 4
  • Inflation Rate (yr-on-yr) (%) Single digit
  • Central Bank Financing (% previous year’s tax receipts) < 10
  • Gross Foreign Reserves (in months of imports) > 3

Secondary Criteria

  • Domestic Arrears (in millions of Leones) 0.0
  • Tax Revenue (% of GDP) > 20
  • Wages of Salary Expenditure (% Total Tax Revenue < 35
  • Real Interest Rate > 0
  • Real Exchange Rate/Leones/US$ Stable
  • Public Investment/Tax Revenue Ratio (%) > 20
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External Sector

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Banking System

The banking industry in Sierra Leone, presently consist of six (6) commercial banks.

Prior to the rebel incursion in the country, these commercial banks operated a network of branches in all the major towns in the country.

However, most of their activities were curtailed as most branches closed down due to the insecurity that prevailed during those years.

Since relative peace has returned to the country, the banks have resuscitated their activities in most of the provincial areas and the Freetown environs by reopening their branches.

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National Payment System

The National Payment System, a modernization project was launched in October 2002, to provide an efficient customer centered payment system designed to meet the payment needs of the country.

Limitations of the current Method of Payment

The current methods of payment in Sierra Leone have various shortcomings such as delays in settlement periods, high costs, and risk of fraud. The most common instruments that characterize these payment methods are cash, cheques, and to a limited extent electronic payments.

What has been done so far

The Director of Banking is the Chairman of the project committee and the main objectives are to minimize payment, clearing and settlement risks and achieve reliable, secure, convenient, cost effective, universal and integrated systems to meet the needs of the economy.

More specifically, the major issues under focus include the following:

  • Problems associated with the NPS, background of the country’s culture and economy and the country’s national payment system needs.
  • The infrastructure situation and state of automation within and between bank branches and their customers.
  • The key legal structures that affect payments.
  • The existing payment instruments.
  • Inter bank clearing and settlement systems.
  • Risks associated with payments in the country.


To streamline and reduce on settlement delays the Central Bank adopted a two clearing system to ensure that all high value payments are finalized on transaction dates.

However, the committee is still working on setting modalities for the implementation of a modernized and more robust National Payment System in compliance with WAMI standards.

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Sierra Leone Government Securities

TREASURY BEARER BONDS

These are government securities introduced in 1993 with a 12 (twelve) month term to maturity. They are issued in the primary market at face value in monthly auctions. Since interest payments are made quarterly, four interest coupons are attached to the TBB certificates, which are presented on maturity to the commercial banks for interest payment. Commercial banks and the Discount House participate in the primary market as agents through which customers bid for Treasury Bearer Bonds.

Currently treasury bonds are issued in certificated bearer form but reform measures in the form of a Book-Entry System and other IT infrastructure are being put in place to support the de-materialised issuance of these treasury bonds and promote the development of secondary market in government securities.

TREASURY BILLS

These are short-term government borrowing instruments introduced in 1964 with a 91 day term to maturity. As investment assets they are sold by auction in weekly lots with tap issues to Discount House, banks and other public agencies. Treasury bills are issued through commercial banks and Discount Houses as primary market dealers, on a discount basis - that is, they are sold originally at a price below their face value, with face value payable at maturity. The difference between the price and face value constitute the interest payment. Treasury bills remain an important financial instrument with a significant role in monetary management.

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The leone

Bank of Sierra Leone notes are printed in various colours with different designs on both the front and the back. Although the bank experimented with colour, new designs and printing techniques, its notes remain essentially the same throughout and have similar dimensions.

Sierra Leonean figures have been depicted on the front of notes of all series. The character chosen has to have made an indisputable contribution to the Sierra Leonean history.

The various designs are illustrated here...........

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