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Port Loko Stakeholders Embrace National Investment Board

April 20, 2021

By Alusine Sesay

Stakeholders at the consultative meeting in Port Loko

Stakeholders including traditional chiefs, local council authorities and business people in the North-Western District of Port and Kerena, have strongly embraced the National Investment Board (NIB), an initiative carved by President Bio to get rid of some bottlenecks in the private sector and boosts investment in Sierra Leone.

On Saturday, April 17th, the board engaged stakeholders in the district to have their input in the National Investment Board bill before it could be passed into law by the Sierra Leone Parliament.

The NIB, according to the Executive Director,Dr.Maada Mustapha, will replace the existing board of the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) and that it will the singular authority to attract, coordinate and regulate investment in Sierra Leone.

While Sierra Leone is ranked 163 out of 190 countries in terms of investment across the world, attracting 531 million United States Dollars investment and standing at 11th position in West Africa, he said the NIB would be a game changer for private investment in the country.

He said the NID would re-organise the investment phase, deal with criminal activities and ensure harmony, adding that it would serve as a one-stop-shop where investors would be able to access all documentations regarding the establishment of businesses in the country.

Dr.Maada Mustapha noted that they would establish an operational website wherein potential investors would learn about the country’s investment opportunities and the appropriate authorities to contact.

He said the country is not doing well in terms of private investment because there is poor coordination among Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs),adding that President Bio thought it fit to establish the NIB, which he will chair, to change the narrative.

He cited barriers to obtaining business license, length of time to access utilities, high cost of doing business, corruption, scarcity of skilled labour, property registration and market size, as some of the challenges affecting private sector investment in the country.

“The NID will advocate policy, promote and facilitate investment. The NIB will have the powers to instruct institutions to release documents to investors. We will also provide after-care-services. The NIB is here to build the image of the country in terms of investment. Applicants will now have to deal with a single institution to register their businesses,” he said.

Being the chairman of the Board, he said it will be the first time in history investors will have face-to-face interaction with the president.

He said in Sierra Leone, government remains the highest employer and that the NIB would create the enabling environment for the privet sector to strive and create more jobs for the youth.

“Any country where the private sector is solid, there will be calm because people will remain peaceful if they are meaningfully engaged in the private sector .The NIB is also a peace-building mechanism. We have worked on the bill and we are here to get your inputs and proposals that will benefit all and sundry,” he said.  

He underscores the importance of traditional leaders in terms of private sector investment in the provinces, and called on them to embrace the process.

Representing the Mayor of the Port District Council, Councillor Zakariah Bangura, described the engagement as a very important because the provinces are the most vulnerable in terms of private investment.

He said the private sector is one of the main sources of revenue for the council after what he referred to as ‘own source revenue and grant from the central government’.

He emphasised the need for effective collaboration with the private sector for councils to perform effectively, stating that the essence of partnership is to enhance collaboration for national development.

He embraced the idea of NIB to effectively coordinate private sector investment for the benefit of all.

John B.Koroma from the Kerena District Council, commended government for the initiative, stating that private sector is key in terms of development in the provinces, because the sector has a bigger role to play to enhance development.

He noted that conducive environment is key for the private sector to strive better, stating that public expectations in terms of government performance is very highly and that the only way to deal with such situation, is to enhance effective collaboration with the private sector.

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