One of the Directors of Jays Bar International Construction Company and General Supplies Limited went down yesterday to the Immigration Department to apply for formal residency as a business person in Sierra Leone.All her paperwork was in order and she had a cheque to fill in for the fee. At the immigration department in Rawdon Street she asked how much the fee was. She was told it was $1,200.00 and indeed there was a sign on the wall indicating that this was the fee required. She did question though why an immigration fee to the Government of Sierra Leone should be in dollars. She explained that she had no dollars that her bank account was in Sierra Leone and she only had Leones. She said that in any event she expected any official government charge to be in Leones. She was told she could pay the equivalent in Leones. She asked to see the exchange rate but was informed forcibly that this was not available in writing but that it was Leones 3000 to the dollar. She questioned where the figure came from because it was not on display and it was not the current bank exchange rate. She was told ”That is what it is”.

This Director has two calls to make, the first taking priority;

 1 In Sierra Leone please let all charges be advertised in Leones from now on. Sierra Leone is not a dollar country.  This should particularly apply to any official charge.

2 Until 1 is in place, for all existing official price lists showing a fee in dollars to be amended with immediate effect to show the Leone equivalent and the official exchange rate.

 This is a call firstly for a belief and a pride in the national currency and secondly for transparency concerning official government fees.