(AFP) – Jun 11, 2010
FREETOWN — Sierra Leone's parliament has passed a law adopting the metric system of measurement after 49 years using the British imperial system, Trade and Industry Minister David Carew told reporters Friday.
"The law modifies the weight and measures act of 1961 under which the imperial unit of measurement had been used and now adopts the universally accepted metric system," he said.
"The law will enable us to get the correct measurement of foodstuffs and other commodities since measurement terminologies like pound and mile have been replaced with kilometres and kilograms."
Many housewives, like Hawanatu Silla, welcomed the new law.
"It will help to reduce cheating by market women and butchers who had used the pound measurement to defraud customers buying meat, cups of rice and other consumables."
The law stipulated fines ranging from 300 to 6,000 dollars for defaulters including trade inspectors who cheat while using the metric system.
Sierra Leone is the sole member of the three-nation economic organisation, the Mano River Union (MRU) which comprises Guinea and Liberia, that maintained the use of the imperial system of measurement, officials said.
The metric system is the world's most common method of measuring units although is still not fully used by some countries, notably the United States.
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