After all, if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working white middle class and undeserving minorities, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves - Barack Obama

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Reply with quote  #1 
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Don’t sweep things underneath the rug.
Spectator 007
Reply with quote  #2 
Yes it is fair.

If it’s operating below target goals set, the government should find out what the deficiencies are and take corrective action.
Reply with quote  #3 
My honest opinion is that free education is underfunded and teachers, in general, are not fully prepared for what is at stake. Must also say a fully funded, free education program, is a priority in Sierra Leone and successful or not, I like the fact that the president gives it a jump start and created a template future presidents are expected to build on.
D Yanni
Reply with quote  #4 
I like and very much appreciate the FQE program. This is a step in the right direction for our country.  I would want this to be legislated and made into law, so that future governments averse to human capital would not sabotage, underfund or reverse this very noble and worthy program.
Reply with quote  #5 
The free education is a fantastic idea and one I didn't think he could pull off, at least, not so quickly. I would like to know how much it costs in total, how much of that we fund ourselves and how much is donor funded. In other words, what needs to be done to make it sustainable in the long term.

In terms of actual quality of the content, I'm not in a position to judge. Needs research on the ground.
Reply with quote  #6 
Free education for all in a country with an economy that is not sustainable may have been the wrong idea. A better start, arguably, could have been a charter school-type program but admits only students with greater potentials to succeed. 
Reply with quote  #7 
 "Free education for all in a country with an economy that is not sustainable may have been the wrong idea"  KL

There are poorer countries with a successful free education program.  Gambia is an example, whose program has been going on successfully for over three years now.  We must stop this IMPOSSIBLE mentality with its attendant inferiority complex.  Rwanda will start producing cell phones this year.  So what?  Is Rwanda wealthier than Sierra Leone?

Ever heard of the Asian takeoff?  Please google it.  Development is an incremental process, me man.
Reply with quote  #8 
We are speaking about Sierra Leone specifically not Rwanda, Gambia or any other nation. Sierra Leone has been stripped off it's economic potentials for to long and if you think free education is a "shovel ready" idea then you must rethink your opinion. "De gron dry", as they say, and baby steps are to be taken before a full implementation of this program. De money nor dae for all students.
Reply with quote  #9 
"We are speaking about Sierra Leone specifically not Rwanda, Gambia or any other nation."  KL

Everything in this world is relative.  Look, Sierra Leone may be going through economic problems but there are countries in Africa that are far worse than Sierra Leone.  And pursuing a free education program by itself is one way of getting the economy back on the path of sustainable growth. 

  Do you think the money being spent on free education is a waste?  Think again, brother.
What ever money is being spent on the free education program is expected to a have a multiplier effect on the economy. 

Government cannot decrease government spending in a contracting economy.  If it wants to influence aggregate demand and stimulate growth, it must increase spending.
Reply with quote  #10 
I never argued against free education and your question, "Do you think the money being spent on free education is a waste?", is completely out of context. My take is between quality and quantity. 

"Government cannot decrease government spending
in a contracting economy.  If it wants to influence
aggregate demand and stimulate growth, it must
increase spending."

First off, there is nothing like "aggregate demand" for education in Salone but there is a need for education and for those that are willing and potentially capable to succeed. 
Meanwhile, where is the spending money come from to help educate millions of advantaged people?
D Yanni
Reply with quote  #11 
@ Businessman. Some people, some Sierra Leone are averse to the idea of human capital development for all. They have said it before that education is a privilege, and not a right. They will argue about money, economics, readiness, timeliness etc. just to kill this noble and worthy idea. Killjoys.   
Reply with quote  #12 

With all due respect, you have to understand how the national economy works for you to successfully pursue a debate of this nature.

You argue that there is nothing like "aggregate demand" for education in Sierra Leone....You are wrong.  If aggregate demand is the sum of all demands in the economy, then spending on education has to be a part of aggregate demand.

Next, you ask "where is the spending money coming from to educate millions of ....?"

There are three main sources of government revenue:

1.  Taxes
2. Borrowing
3. Printing money.

Governments do not always resort to #3 as that would lead to inflation. 

For #2, the government can sell government bonds in the open market, many times through monetary policy, which is undertaken by the central bank.  Folks that buy these bonds are owed by the government.  They can later redeem these bonds for the face value of the bonds. 

For #1, there needs no explanation since we all know how taxes are important to the running of any government.

President Bio has been running the government through taxes - domestic revenue mobilization.  As is well known, domestic revenue mobilization has improved under Bio.  It is the proceeds from these taxes that are being invested in the free education program.  This is bound to have a multiplier effect on the economy in the future.  Apart from the country having a better educated citizenry and workforce, the free education program has the indirect effect of creating jobs and expanding existing businesses while creating new ones.  Thus, the additional spending in the economy that results from the initial government spending is what the multiplier effect is. 

This is not politics.  Bio and his men are on the right track.
Reply with quote  #13 
D. Yanni,

Those that argue against human capital development must also be against economic growth and development.

Human capital is one of the most important factors of production in an economy.  An educated workforce is more critical to worker productivity than an uneducated workforce.  Engineers, medical doctors, academics, etc, are all part of a country's human capital.  These are the folks that conduct research that leads to the production of the goods and services that consumers in an economy demand.  Countries like the United States and Japan are ahead today due to their investment in human capital development.
Reply with quote  #14 
If I may play devils advocate...

Education is very important but is long term. It doesn't help hungry people today. The government needs to put a great deal of emphasis and focus on strengthening the economy and creating jobs. These new jobs will yield the tax returns that will pay for education in the long run.

Where are the agro-economic programs? The light manufacturing? The tourism investment that will not just create jobs but generate foreign exchange and arrest the decline of the Leone? We desperately need to take steps to reduce inflation. What measures are being put in place?

APC left a terrible legacy but we can only blame them for 1 year to 18 months. After that it I all on us.
Reply with quote  #15 
"Education is very important but is long term.
It doesn't help hungry people today."

This has been my concern all along! I am not against education but free education for all is a fantasy. Sierra Leone does not have the the tax base for "aggregate demands". Borrowing we must be very cautious of and printing money, as my friend stated, is out of the question.

Hungry people are angry people and the administration most go "keleh keleh" and not spend money it does not readily in possession of.
My take
Reply with quote  #16 
Folks like "Businessman" must free themselves from textbook economics to real Salone issues. You cannot bite more than you can chew. If I understood you well, as far as your "aggregate demand" theory, I say take time kill anch you go see him gut. Successful presidents do not attempt to solve all problems; the engage themselves with the most urgent needs of the people. 
Reply with quote  #17 
My take,

The problem with Salone is that everybody claims to be an expert on everything.  I was expecting you to post a solid analysis that would counter my arguments since you implored me to free myself from textbook economics. 

Do you know what I am engaged in on a daily basis?  I sleep and wake in economics, finance and business.  So I know what I am talking about. 

If you guys believe that the government is not implementing the correct policies to stabilize the economy, why don't you submit proposals that would counter whatever policy initiatives the government has been working with?

Anybody can criticize anything.  But the difficult work arises when it comes to proffering solutions to the problem.

take time kill anch my foot.
Reply with quote  #18 

Since you are looking for a short-term economic relief to help the hungry people, please elucidate a policy prescriptive approach to starting light manufacturing in Salone and how light manufacturing can be a short-term relief?

Also, please tell me how quickly a tourism industry can be developed and how fast that could arrest the depreciating Leone.
My take
Reply with quote  #19 
Businessman, I don't mean to upset you but your economic ideas are being extracted from Western textbooks. Google the name Dr. Dambisa Felicia Moyo and if possible you may want to purchase one of her books.
Reply with quote  #20 
My take,

Don't take the easy way out by referring Businessman to Moyo. I have been enjoying this debate. I don't want it to end soon.
If you are accusing Businessman of using western economic theories, then you should counter with your African economic theories.
I have read some terrible ideas under this thread that show a lack of understanding of how the national economy and the international monetary system work.
Now, tell me how the hell does an African eeconomy work?
Nja - neneh
Reply with quote  #21 
@my take. Please take on the textbook economist aka Businessman. Looking forward to reading your counter thesis. Please don't chicken out, don't disappoint! 
Umpire Freeman
Reply with quote  #22 
I don't think 'my take' will take on Businessman.  Businessman will destroy him in a second.  Sierra Leoneans want to be experts in everything.  And they end up being experts at nothing.  Clearly, 'my take' does not have an iota of an idea on economics.

Everybody is blaming president Bio as if the man is not working on solving the problems facing the nation. As quick as they are to criticize, they are always slow at proferring solutions
Reply with quote  #23 

For the avoidance of any confusion, let me start by making clear I am very much in favour of the free education push. Like many others on this forum, I too worked 2-3 jobs back in the day to help pay school fees for younger siblings. I only wish we had free education in those days.

As for what to do to boost the economy, I defer to the likes of @Businessman and @'My take' who seem to know what they are talking about, even though they have different perspectives. I also believe President Bio has made some very good appointments at the Bank of Sierra Leone, the ministry of Finance and other institutions. I trust these folks to turn things around. I am not an economist.

Having said that, I do have opinions. We import far more than we export which adds to the inflationary pressure and drives down the value of the Leone. Our main imports include rice, medicines, vehicles and building materials. Our exports consist mainly or mining products and raw, unprocessed agricultural products.

So what would I do? I believe in the absence of a fully vibrant private sector, government needs to borrow to invest in sectors of the economy that reduce imports, increase exports and create he most jobs. I would set up new national parastatals with a target of privatising these within no more than 5 years. A new national Rice Coorporation should be tasked with reversing our position to become net exporter of rice. A national pharmaceutical company to manufacture generic drugs can be set up for only a few million dollars. A national building material company can be set up as a public private partnership and sold off in 5 years for a profit to government.

Tourism has the potential to be our biggest export sector and it generates more jobs than most other industries. We do not yet have the infrastructure to create Dubai style tourism but we can become leaders in ecotourism very quickly and at relatively little cost. The profits from ecotourism can then be re-invested in other tourism ventures.
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