Recent reforms have led to faster and cheaper ways to start a business
In Sierra Leone, there has been recent improvement in the efficiency of starting a business. Government authorities drastically cut costs and expedited the process for starting a business by making the use of a lawyer optional and abolishing other registration formalities, including requirements to pay taxes upfront and obtain permission for registration to start a business.
Once a business has been started, investors must obtain sector-specific business licenses.
Level playing field for foreigners
Foreign investors enjoy a level playing field when starting a business. There are no minimum capital requirements and no restrictions on equity; however, foreign investors cannot invest in the following sectors: arms and ammunition, cement block manufacturing, granite and sand stone excavation, manufacturing of certain consumer durable goods, and military, police, and prison guards’ apparel and accoutrements.
Sector-specific business licenses
In some sectors—such as mining and fisheries— licenses can be obtained from sector ministries. SLIEPA can facilitate the process for investors.
For mining, fees vary by activity and citizenship. Investors can find detailed information at www.slmineralresources.org.
Licensing and Certificate Fees associated with Mining
|Type of license||Fee|
|Alluvial diamond exporter license||$40,000/year ($25,000/half-year)|
|Alluvial diamond exporter agent’s certificate||$5,000/year ($3,000/half-year)|
|Alluvial diamond dealer license (non-citizen)||$5,000/year ($3,000/half-year)|
|Gold exporter license||$3,000/year|
|Gold exporter agent’s certificate||$1,000/year|
|Gold dealer license (non-citizen||$1,000/year|
|Gold mining company manager certificate (non-citizen)||$167/year|
Ministry of Mineral Resources and SLIEPA
In fisheries, all vessels must be registered with the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration and fishing licenses obtained from the Ministry of Marine Resources and Fisheries.
Regulations for the fishing industry require that operators obtain an offshore account in Sierra Leone and employ 45 percent Sierra Leoneans as crew members.
Vessel Fees associated with Fisheries
|Type of vessel||Annual fee||Royalties per vessel|
|Shrimp vessel over 250 tons||$60,000||$18,000|
|Fish trawler over 250 tons||$40,000||$15,000|
|Tuna purse seiner||$18,000|
|Tuna long liners||$12,000|
|Small pelagic purse seiner||$15,000|
|Fish processing ship||$20,000|