Sierra Leone - Public finance

The government of Sierra Leone has been prevented from having any significant economic influence in the country thanks to a shortage of foreign exchange, deep-seated corruption, and uncertainty surrounding the civil wars that periodically take place. The minister of finance came under attack in 2000 for declaring expenditures reaching $30,000 on the war during the month of May alone, because government officials reportedly siphoned off money into private bank accounts. Payroll fraud in the same year to the tune of $400,00 in the accounting office also took a toll on government respectability.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that in 2000 Sierra Leone's central government took in revenues of approximately $96 million and had expenditures of $351 million. Overall, the government registered a deficit of approximately $255 million. External debt totaled $1.3 billion.

The following table shows an itemized breakdown of government revenues and expenditures. The percentages were calculated from data reported by the International Monetary Fund. The dollar amounts (millions) are based on the CIA estimates provided above.

Sierra Leone

Tax revenue 87.1% 84
Non-tax revenue 2.9% 3
Grants 10.0% 10
General public services 10.9% 38
Defense 9.9% 35
Public order and safety 3.5% 12
Education 13.3% 47
Health 9.6% 34
Social security 2.3% 8
Housing and community amenities 0.8% 3
Economic affairs and services 29.0% 102
Other expenditures 2.5% 9
Interest payments 18.2% 64

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