Serious financial difficulties has rendered the government in Sierra Leone unable to pay university lecturers and school teachers, as well as the monthly salaries of civil servants, finance minister John O. Benjamin alarmed in Freetown.
He said the government has also been unable to pay scholarships for government-sponsored students and even to provide some other basic facilities including fuel for state-owned vehicles.
In a briefing with journalists Saturday in Freetown Benjamin cited that the National Revenue Authority (NRA) fell short of its budget target for fiscal 2006, and has also fallen short of collecting Le11 billion in the first half of 2007.
“These are affecting budgetary allocations,” Benjamin explained, adding, “donors actually gave the heaviest blow to the economy by withholding funds and other support until after presidential and parliamentary polls” in August this year.
“The economy is not in a bad state. But we were having financial difficulties in meeting this year’s budget due to a shortfall in revenue collection,” said Benjamin.
He, however, assured that government would shortly begin paying the salaries and wages of workers.