An Analysis By Ranger
It is disheartening to note that even though the Local Content Policy (LCP) was enacted into law under the Finance Act, however, there are certain business moguls who are bent on reversing the gains that Sierra Leoneans stand to benefit from its effective implementation.
With the aim in mind to promote local talent, businesses, produce etc., President Koroma deemed it fit to create the necessary enabling environment which would ensure healthy promotion of everything locally produced so that more employment opportunities would be available and at the same time boost the country’s economy and GDP. Besides, it will make it possible for the transfer of skills as it is encapsulated in the Local Content Act that hired expatriates must have in their employ Sierra Leoneans who should understudy them or undergo training so that in the short or long run they will take over from these expatriates.
The tourism sector has been benefitting largely from the Local Content Policy in the sense that business people dealing in different goods and providing services are doing business deals with major hotels and Guest Houses. The huge benefits are going to Sierra Leoneans who are dealing in Made-in-Sierra Leone products and services instead of foreigners.
Sorghum farmers are now at an advantageous position as the Sierra Leone Brewery Limited Company buy more of the sorghum they produce to brew Beer and Stout beverages. The number of these farmers has increased exponentially with the cascading effect of poverty reduction.
The benefits to national economic growth are really enormous.
It appears, however, that efforts are now underway to undermine the meaning and objective of the Finance Act which created the LCP. Instead of enforcing the Finance Act and Local Content Policy objectives, the authorities have literally taken a U-turn or renege on their earlier stance of promoting local produce against foreign imports.
It is unfortunate that at a time when the country is facing an economic slowdown, the actions of our authorities hardly support local production, thus making it harder for the average Sierra Leonean to make ends meet.
At this juncture, President Koroma is kindly reminded that he had promised to promote local production and consumption of local goods. He had promised that Made- in -Sierra Leone goods and services would take prominence over foreign imports and he has so far ensured that the Finance Act becomes law.
What the people are now looking forward to is for President Koroma to continue to give his support to local producers and local produce.
The reason is because the benefits of the LCP are in the interest of Sierra Leoneans because it helps create jobs, it helps reduce poverty, it fosters innovation and it militates against expensive imports. It is a fact that any country which depends on importation finds it extremely difficult to develop in every sense of the word. This is why President Koroma and all the relevant authorities concerned should ensure that they do everything in their power to support the LCP if at all they want the average Sierra Leonean to live better lives.