As of mid-1997, domestic commerce was hampered by political instability and guerilla raids on villages. Fuel and food staples are in short supply and many businesses and banks remained closed. Foreign investment has been stalled by all these factors.
Freetown is the principal commercial and distribution center. Internal trade is normally carried on by trading firms that deal in a variety of merchandise. Bo is the commercial center for the central region of the country, with most significant trading activity in ginger, rice, coffee, cocoa, and palm oil and kernels. Makeni, in central Sierra Leone, is a trading center for the Temne people, who mainly produce rice.
Normal business hours were from 8 AM to 12:00 PM and 2 to 4:45 PM , Monday through Friday, with a half day on Saturday. Banks were open from 8 AM to 1:30 PM , Monday through Thursday, and 8 to 2 PM on Friday.