Sierra Leone
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BSL revokes over- the -counter cash withdrawal limits

By Jariatu S Bangura

The Bank of Sierra Leone has revoked all over- the -counter limits for cash withdrawals per bank account from all commercial banks and other licensed deposit -taking institutions with immediate effect.

The Bank of Sierra Leone was rationing newly minted banknotes to prevent  cash shortage, following a currency redenomination that was itself meant to address cash shortages with the reversals.

The Bank Governor, professor Kelfala Kallon did state  that eight hundred billion new Leones were withdrawn from bank accounts in less than two weeks after the reboot, equivalent to about 10% of the national budget. 

That uptake prompted the central bank to set withdrawal limits. 

Proff. Kallon also said on one of the local radios then that “We’re seeing evidence that perhaps people are going to start doing what they have done that almost brought this country to its knees.”

In Section 65 of the Act, the Central Bank is required to issue orders, directives or guidelines to bodies, institutions or organizations under its regulatory authority. These institutions are mandated to comply with those orders, directives, or guidelines issued by the central bank.

In accordance with Section 65 of the Bank of Sierra Leone Act of 2019, BSL issued a directive on 8 and 15th July 2022, stating that the over-the-counter cash withdrawal limits for individuals and corporate entities should not exceed NLe30,000 (30 million Leones in old currency) and NLe100,000 (100 million Leones in old currency) respectively.

In section 5 (a) of the Act, the central bank is responsible for issuing and managing the local currency. This authority is further reinforced in Section 27 of the Act, with a particular emphasis on subsection 5, which states that the bank is responsible for “maintaining an appropriate supply of banknotes and coins” in order to maintain financial stability.