By Bockarie Kukuku Musa
The Sierra Leone Investment & Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) has today 2nd February 2018 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with four trade and agro-business agencies.
The symbolic signing ceremony brought together the Sierra Leone Chamber for Agro-business Development (SLeCAD), the Produce Marketing Board (PMB), the Sierra Leone Netherlands Business and Culture Council (SLNBCC) and EXPO 2020.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr. Abdul Rahman Fofanah who doubles as the Chairman of the ceremony expressed delight on such a brilliant milestone in SLIEPA’s history.
The Chairman spoke about the Ministry’s statutory mandate in developing policies and programmes to stimulate local and export trade as well as to enhance private sector investment, industrial and economic growth.
The Chairman highlighted the ministry’s commitments in coordinating and spearheading the implementation of the National Trade Policy, coordinates the development of trade support programme that reflects the policy objectives of the Government. He added that “the ministry will liaise with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government to provide an enabling environment for the Private Sector to thrive”.
He ended by complementing local and indigenous businessmen for their hard work to import their standards and branding in order to compete with the global market.
The Chief Executive Officer of SLIEPA, Mr. Dylan Sogie-Thomas in his statement during the signing of the MoU said his organization is an initiative to encourage and promote conformity in relation promote investment into Sierra Leone, promote exports of Sierra Leonean products, promote the development of agricultural production and other activities oriented towards exports and providing exporters with marketing advisory services and to assist them in developing marketing plans for entering or expanding business into foreign markets; his when on to further informed the gathering that SLIEPA also identify potential investors with a view to encouraging them to invest in agriculture and other sectors of the economy, and promote both locally and internationally, facilitate registration of business enterprises and assist investors in obtaining permits, licenses, certificates or clearances needed for the commencement of business.
The CEO underscored that the signing of the MoU will set the platform for other institutions to come onboard and join the process so they could collectively address the challenges within the sector which range from export processes and procedure that will serve to facilitate and expedite the export processes, address the issue of smuggling of produce along the borders and ensuring that stakeholders are capacitated along the produce value chain.
Going further, the astute and result oriented Chief Executive Officer expressed delight for such a wonderful milestone in the history of SLIEPA as after a series of consultation and amendments, this is the first official signing of the MoU with the respectively trade and agro-business agencies.
“The MoU will reflect the partnership between SLIEPA, the Sierra Leone Chamber for Agro-business Development (SLeCAD), the Produce Marketing Board (PMB), the Sierra Leone Netherlands Business and Culture Council (SLNBCC) and EXPO 2020 in jointly organizing local trade fairs; facilitate the participation of economic operators in international trade fairs and events, partnership in all trade development programmes, provide capacity building and technical assistance to all Agro-business and trade agencies where possible, partner in establishing an enterprise development fund among others” he went on to further informed the gathering
Despite we are few weeks to the elections; Sierra Leone is open for any potential investment and business” he added.
The Acting Executive Secretary, Produce Marketing Board (PMB) Madam Haja Rahil Kabba in her statement said that the partnership between SLIEPA has been long standing and that the MoU will continue to strengthen their working relationship.
The Executive Secretary, Sierra Leone Chamber for Agro-business Development (SLeCAD), Mr. Ahmed Nanoh said the signing of the MoU falls within the framework of SLIEPA’s mandate to support and contribute to the growth of the Sierra Leone economy by providing effective, efficient, reliable and timely investment & export promotion services to domestic and international investors and foresees an enormous potential in Sierra Leone and SLIEPA remains dedicated to achieving its objectives”
The Country’s Project Manager of Sierra Leone Netherlands Business and Culture Council (SLNBCC), Madam Binta Jalloh described the day as important for both the government and the private sector, affirming that their aim is to nurture public private partnership in order to advance the cause of business in the Republic of Sierra Leone.
The Commissioner General of EXPO 2020, Mr. Philip Conteh gave an overview EXPO 2020 DUBAI. Expo 2020 Dubai will be the first World Expo held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA). With its central theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future and the sub themes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, it is committed to convening the global community and inspiring people to collaborate towards creating a better future. He explains.
Mr. Philip Conteh stated that the Expo 2020 Dubai will provide a one-of-a-kind global stage for showcasing and sharing novel solutions and demonstrating projects that irrespective of their size and geography that can improve, if not transform, the lives of people around the world.
The historic event was held at SLIEPA’s Tower Hill Officer in Freetown and was climaxed with the signing of the MoU.
NOTE: SLIEPA is a corporate body, created by legislation in 2007 with functions, amongst others, to formulate and implement investment, export and enterprise development guidelines and investment promotion strategies and promote and facilitate the development of micro, small and medium enterprises.
© Bockarie Kukuku Musa, Communications and Media Consultant