According to the statistics office in Sierra Leone, the average year-over-year inflation rate for food and non-food items is 26.65% and 23.98%, respectively. These are most likely massaged and conservative numbers. The reality here is that most Sierra Leoneans are living by some “miracle.” The new leones have quickly devaluated against the dollar at a rate we’ve never seen before (72.47% xe.com). At this same time last year, $1.00 = Le10.97. Now, $1.00 =Le18.12. The current minimum wage is Le600 ($31.72). At this same time last year, the minimum wage was Le600 ($54.69). So many employees are being paid the minimum monthly wage or slightly above it while top-level Government officials continue to get paid more than $2000 a month. There could be a debate about the income inequality gap, but that’s not my focus. What we want to focus on is for the Government to recognize that its long past time to raise the minimum wage and to encourage private-sector employers to offer a wage increase to help offset the high inflation rate. Dealing with inflation in Sierra Leone must be a high priority for the Government and private sector.
What can employers do for their employees during high inflation in Sierra Leone?
Not all businesses have strong financial standings and raising employee wages can be challenging. However, suppose a company is in this situation; in that case, they can consider other options for their employees, such as
· A hardship bonus,
· Free lunch at the office on specific days,
· Free transportation to work or after work
· Percentage of Salary donation to employee labor pool to be shared amongst employees
· Four days’ work week to save on transport
We know inflation is a global challenge, but the actions and inactions of the Government and private sector can lessen or worsen the impact on Sierra Leoneans struggling to make ends meet every day. Government and private sector, please do the needful.
What can small businesses in Sierra Leone do during Inflation?
Focus on your cost driver and revenue generator
Cost: Cut down unnecessary expenses. For instance, paid marketing may not yield the desired results as consumer confidence is typical low and customers watch/control their spending. A deep dive evaluation of your income statement should help your business identify expenses that can ne controlled/ cut during high inflation.
Revenue: Where are opportunities for revenue creation?
Products: Do you sell imported products that can be switch to local products? Can you introduce new local products?
Do you understand your product mix on the display table?
Review weighted margin of each display.
Point of sale merchandising for impulse buyers
Can you introduce a new service to existing clients without incurring significant cost?
How competitive is your pricing?
Do you offer dynamic pricing?
Do you have the ability to offer a better-quality product and service to gain competitive edge?
Customer Service Level
Is your customer service level top notch?
Do you dazzle your customer?
Do you offer the Wow factor?
Do you offer after sales service?
How can 247bigmarket help small businesses in Sierra Leone?
We believe that a robust private sector is responsible for strong economic growth in thriving economies. Therefore, we are available to provide small business mentorship and support in Sierra Leone. If you are a small business owner and need additional guidance, please send email to [email protected]. To learn how to become a vendor in our platform, please visit this link