The Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) was from the 11th – 16th July 2019, in Kenema and Kailahun Districts to seek new investment opportunities, strengthen collaboration between SLIEPA, Local Authorities, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and to obtain list of investments operating in those areas.
Speaking during the meetings, the team leader Mrs. Phebean Jaia an Investment Promotion Officer in SLIEPA, said the rationale behind the visit was to update the Agency’s database with emerging investment opportunities according to the comparative advantage of each district in the Country and to acquire list of investments established at District level that did not pass through SLIEPA so that they will be incorporated in the Agency’s database for its Aftercare Services. She said the collaboration is important for quick information sharing and the delivery of technical advice to expedite the work of SLIEPA especially when responding to requests made by both existing and potential investors.
In response, the hosts were pleased with SLIEPA for such a noteworthy visit for which they applauded the new administration of the Agency.
The Chairman of Kailahun District Council, Mr. Sahr A. K. Lamin, said, they are encouraging more investors as their District is far behind in terms of investment. He noted that tremendous efforts are in progress to bring back the Koindu International market. He therefor called on investors to be part of the project and concluded by saying that he has an open-door policy to work with Ministries, Departments and Agencies for the development of his District and the Country thereby complementing the efforts of the New Direction Government.
According to the Chief Administrator of Kailahun District Council, Mr. John Lahai Swarray, it will be very good for investors coming to Sierra Leone to go through SLIEPA and the other preferred institutions for better advice in relation to areas that best fit their investments. He said Kailahun has soil for tree crops such as cocoa, coffee, palm tree and therefore asked SLIEPA to recommend Kialahun District should there be an investment opportunity for the establishment of cocoa factory.
The Kailahun District Agriculture Officer, Mr. Salam Saidu, also reiterated that Kailahun has a fertile land for growing cocoa and coffee, adding plantain and banana as the emerging crops identified as suitable for cultivation in the District.
His Worship Thomas Baio, Mayor of Kenema City Council, appreciated the visit; saying that the presence of SLIEPA in the Provinces manifests the energy of New Direction to deliver. He noted, the effect of unregistered investments on the Government and the people; maintaining that they have put strategies in place to eradicate the establishment of such investments in their District. He explained that Kenema District was known for Diamond mining; added to it now are quarry activities. His Worship mentioned waste management as the Council’s priority area of investment as they are currently engaged in the recycling of plastic waste with much efforts in progress to start the recycling of liquid waste. He therefore beseech SLIEPA to link the councils with investors expressing interest in waste management.
According to the Kenema District Agriculture Officer, Mr. Philip Gana Conteh, investors now expressed interest in different areas in the agricultural sector instead of just tree crops as before. He said Kenema District has high soil nutrient and water regime which makes it suitable for the cultivation of various crops.
Investments established without going through due procedures was a common concern among the various speakers; for which they articulated much interest in strengthen the collaboration and sharing all necessary investment information with SLIEPA.
Other stakeholders met with were: the Provincial Secretary – Kenema, Senior District Officer – Kenema/ Kailahun, Kenema District Council, Ministry of Labour – Kenema, SLPMC – Kenema, Produce Marketing Board (PMB) – Kenema/Kailahun, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development – Kenema/Kailahun, Ministry of Trade and Industry – Kenema and National Minerals Agency (NMA) – Kenema.