September 9, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
The Sierra Leone Import and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) has launched a project to increase the country’s export competitiveness through improved product packaging for small and medium scale enterprises.
The programme is being undertaken by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat, according to the Chief Executive Officer at SLIEPA, Raymond K. Gbekie, who was speaking during the launch at the Hub Hotel, Wilberforce. He said the project would examine packaging in the country, looking at constraints and making recommendations to the government.
Gbekie said the project has several phases with the first being to diagnose packaging constraint in the country, identify gaps in developing the project as well as national deficiencies in the trade sector, adding that after that phase consultants will proffer recommendation for implementation by the government.
He said SLIEPA would not pre-empt the study, while admitting that definitely the government was having problems with the packaging of local products both for national and international markets.
He said the project was significant as Pillar Four of the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’ deals with the competitiveness of local products in the international market.
While launching the project, acting Minister of Trade and Industry, Mabinty Daramy, said government was very keen about the project as it would foster growth in the country’s market and put out local products to compete with others in the sub-region.
The project has a 19-month life-span which is expected to be completed by July next year.
A comprehensive presentation on the project was done by Treglor consultants, led by Ebenezer Consult, while the Adviser of Trade Competitiveness at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Krik Haywood, spoke on the benefits of the project to the trade sector and the Gross Domestic Product.