This is very difficult for me to write but needless to say, for varied reasons, I need to pen it down. 🙂
My goods arrived and I was notified by the shipping agent to collect it. Now you may ask what goods I imported. The answer is very ordinary everyday goods and provisions for our personal use. Due to the high cost of goods here in Sierra Leone, it’s best to import even simple things like toothbrush! yes you have to believe me – Simple cornflakes will set you back $5 or more / Le 20,000 🙂 (I’ll do a pricing page here soon so you know what I’m talking about).
Now back to the main subject of my post today. The trip to the Quay was harrowing, being passed around from desk to desk, making payments for simple forms that I believe should be available for free.
There’s no clear public statement showing how much should be paid for which type of good conveniently leaving room for manipulation. As a result one is left at the mercy of whoever you meet that day. By the time I made the last round, I’d paid more than Le1.2million.
Now I can hear you say, “what’s wrong with that?” Well nothing, except when I received a receipt of ONLY Le200,000.oo right at the exit! In fact, it was squeezed surreptitiously into my hand in such a way that before taking a look, I wondered why the guy was acting so shiftily.You can appreciate that by this time(after 3.00pm) I was so tired all I could think of was getting away.
Now when I think about it, I see how corruption is robbing this country!!! If what I paid was right, then the government should receive all the Le1.2 million but with an official receipt of only Le200,000.00, I can imagine that’s all it’ll receive. So where did the rest go to?
>>Heck, is Salone going to continue to shamefully beg for money from foreign donors whilst this low-down dirty behaviour is tolerated? The whole customs sytem needs some serious overhauling to cut down corruption to minimum.
If attitudes need changing, surely this is one place to do it!