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Commercial Banks In Sierra Leone Reject US Dollar Bills

The legal tender in Sierra Leone is the LEONE. Constitutionally, it is the currency that should be used for transaction within the borders of the country. It is the medium for all local transactions and payment of salaries to workers. Other countries in the world have their local currencies as well. But the country’s local currency cannot be used for international transactions, such as purchase of goods and services and honouring of bills overseas.

The generally acceptable medium of transaction globally is the pound sterling, Euro or dollar. In Sierra Leone, each and all of these currencies are accepted in any form of transaction, be it payment, purchase or as gift. But recent ugly developments in some of our banking institutions are causing discomfort and embarrassment to a number of business individuals who throng the banks to transact business, using the United States Dollars.

In the United States of America, where the dollar is the local currency used in the day-to-day activities, there is no denial of the dollar. Whether, it was manufactured in the late 1960s or present day is not an issue, what is considered a serious issue and crime against the state is the use of fake dollar bill in transacting business. Some banks in Sierra Leone, including the “dollar boys” on the streets imitating the banks are sending unhealthy message to the public about the United States of America dollar bills.

To most business individuals and depositors of foreign account the message is not new, but one that leaves the mind in doubt as to why some of the commercial banks are rejecting dollar bills printed around the 1990s, describing them as old, despite the fact that they are in circulation in America and other parts of the world.

A businessman along Siaka Stevens street dealing in electronics explained to standard times that the Rokel Commercial Bank turned down some 1996/99 dollar bills he took to the bank for saving. Also, yesterday at the Guaranty Trust Bank six hundred dollar bills of 100 denomination were rejected by the cashier, stating as reason that the dollar boys are buying them from the bank on discount and as a result of that they are not making any profit.

It is not known whether the Central Bank as the regulator is aware of this development. It is aware; the question is what it has done to remedy the situation? All dollars bills printed from 1996 to 1999 are by most of the Commercial Banks in the country.

The Bank of Sierra Leone, the banker to the Commercial Banks in the country are releasing huge chunk of dollar bills in its public auction every month to cushion the foreign exchange dilemma. Most of the bills released are in the 1990s.

Similarly, the Commercial Banks are also releasing notes printed around this period, but when depositors and business individuals take these notes for savings and other transactions with the banks they are rejected. “This is an affront to America” echoed a western diplomat. And added “In Sierra Leone strange things do happen and for no reason”

The situation is not only causing an embarrassment to business individuals, but also causing headaches for house owners who rent out their houses to tenants in foreign currencies, especially in dollars.

Posted by on 8:10 am. Filed under BUSINESS WORLD. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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