Ease of doing business: NIB head secures funding, aid for transition to one-stop-shop

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NIB Executive Director Dr. Marda Mustapha

The establishment of the National Investment Board (NIB) through an Act of Parliament in 2022 was a fulfillment of His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio’s 2018 manifesto promise and commitment to streamlining the country’s investment space.

A transition concept note was developed by the NIB secretariat headed by Prof. Mustapha and approved by the Board chaired by His Excellency the President in September 2022. The Executive Director (ED) of NIB Prof. Mustapha was given the responsibility to implement the transition plan.

The first phase of the transition was to realign all agencies subsumed by the NIB Act 2022 namely, The Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) The Public Private Partnership Unit (PPP), and the Business Registration Unit of the Office of Administrator and Registrar General (OARG). The re-alignment, which included a co-supervision restructuring of the subsumed agencies was completed in January 2023.

Phase two entails an institutional review with the aim of doing a staff audit to ascertain how staff can be integrated into one NIB Unit for an operational one-stop shop. The institutional review required funding and the Executive Director successfully made a case to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country office in Freetown Sierra Leone for funding. As a result of this request, a letter of Agreement has now been signed by the Executive Director Dr Marda Mustapha of NIB, and the UNDP Resident Representative Sierra Leone DR Pa Lamin Beyai.

This is just one of many successes Dr. Mustapha has achieved since his appointment as Executive Director of NIB. Another recorded pragmatic achievement of the Executive Director is that he has successfully applied for and received Technical Support from the African Caribbean and Pacific- European Union (ACP-EU) Investment Reform Climate (ICR) Facility.  The ICR facility will work with the NIB to draft a National Investment Strategy and After-care Framework for the establishment and operationalization of efficient personalized aftercare services within the NIB structure. Consultants are already being sourced for the exercise.

A suitable building to house all subsumed agencies has been identified and very soon the first one-stop-shop business center in Sierra Leone will have a place to call home.

It should be noted that the Executive Director Dr. Marda Mustapha started the NIB from scratch with the aid of three interns Mr. Sahr James, Ms Camella Scott and Ms Florence Brima. With diligence and hard work Dr. Mustapha and the interns successfully drafted a strategy which was approved by the Board for operationalization in 2021. It was only after the approval of the strategy document that other staff were added to the secretariat.

The NIB is still evolving as the transition to a one stop shop is in its second phase which is very crucial as far as change management is concerned. The NIB Secretariat needs all the support from public and private sector as a successful transition will usher in a new era of attracting credible foreign direct investors and create an environment of doing business on a level playing field in Sierra Leone.

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