The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Peter Bayuku Konteh together with his led delegation has on Thursday, 11th April met with the Piemonte Regional Minister of Enterprise, Energy, Innovation and Research at her Piazza office in Torino as part of his visit to engage both business and political leaders in Italy.
Speaking to Minister De Santis, Hon Konteh explained that he led the team to Italy to introduce and promote key investment and trade opportunities in key economic sectors to Italian businesses, and Torino in particular. He said, under the New Direction of His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio, the country is interested in working closely with private sector investors as partners to diversify the economy and create wealth for its people. He furthered stated that, Sierra Leone can be a better place to do business and that the country’s untapped investment potentials speak to the economic development drive of both Sierra Leone and Italy. “Central to our development agenda is our flagship program: Human Capital Development, and we expect the private sector to contribute to skills development to achieve this agenda,” he said.
He reiterated the fiscal regimes put in place for businesses and that the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) can provide all the necessary facilitation services to investors to speedily actualize their investment because, the country believes in trade and not aid.
The SLIEPA Acting Director of Investment Promotion, Mr. Victor Bangura said the Government’s aggressive business reforms are geared towards creating the conducive environment for investment, and going forward, SLIEPA has dedicated its resources to provide investor aftercare as a key priority of the Agency. Among others, he highlighted Key on-going reforms in the country such as: the quicker time taken and lesser cost paid for starting a business, protecting minority investors, the implementation of the National Land Policy to improve land acquisition processes for investors and harmonizing the fiscal regimes.
The Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Germany (also accredited to Italy and Austria), Dr. M’Baimba Lamin Baryoh underscored the diplomatic relationship between Sierra Leone and Italy and said his focus during his tour of duty is to deepen that relationship through trade and investment.
Responding to the delegation, the Regional Minister, Guiseppina De Santis said she was impressed with the level of development since the new Government came into governance and said she is optimistic that both countries, especially the Piemonte Region where she is a Minister, can do business with Sierra Leone. As part of that commitment, she assigned Giulia Marcon – Manager for International Affairs sector as the focal person to liaise with the delegation to plan a visit to Sierra Leone with some Italian businesses in 2019.
The delegation further engaged Dario Gallina, President Unione Industraile of Torino and the Mayor of the City of Torino, Her Worship, Chiara Appendino, where they discussed cooperation with a network of over 2,500 businesses and the need to invest in Sierra Leone and also an exchange program with the Sierra Leone medical school; all showing their willingness to closely work with the Government and the people of Sierra Leone on trade and investment.
The Minister of Trade and Industry was accompanied by Ambassador Baryoh, the Consul General of Sierra Leone in Northern Italy, Mr. Alessandro Rosso, the Head of Chancery of the Sierra Leone embassy in Germany, Mr. David Gbenjeh, and the Acting Director of Investment Promotion, SLIEPA, Mr. Victor Bangura.