Reforms Achieved PDF Print E-mail

Roundtable DiscussionsSince its establishment in 2007, the SLBF has facilitated dialogue on a number of reforms in the business environment which have resulted in improved and easier access to doing business in the country. 

Even more importantly, these improvements have been recognized internationally as a major step in the country’s bid to attract foreign direct investment into the country.

Some of the reforms achieved in the recent past and spurred on by the ongoing PPD dialogue include the following:

  • Improved Climate for Doing Business: One of the key reform areas during the past two years is the improved climate for doing business in Sierra Leone In the recent World Bank Doing Business 2011 Report, Sierra Leone climbed 5 places to 143 and maintained its lead as the top-reformer in the Mano River Union. In the ECOWAS Region, Sierra Leone was placed 4th in terms of ease of doing business compared to 6th in 2010. Furthermore, Sierra Leone has been a consistent reformer since 2007 and was among the top thirty reformers in the world over the last five years, according to the DB 2011 Report. In the Doing Business 2010 Report, Sierra Leone improved its overall ranking by climbing 8 spots to 148 (from 156 in 2009) among 183 economies on the overall ease of doing business. Overall, Sierra Leone emerged ahead of its neighbours: Liberia (149), Cote D’Ivoire (168) and Guinea (173) in the Mano River Union.

The DB 2011 Report identifies Sierra Leone making reforms in four key areas: dealing with construction permits, registering property, paying taxes and trading across borders.

  • Dealing with construction permits: Made easier by streamlining the issuance of location clearances and building permits. 
  • Registering property: Sierra Leone lifted a moratorium on sales of privately owned properties.
  • Trade facilitation: Sierra Leone sped up exporting and importing through the  implementation of an electronic data interchange system, Assycuda ++.
  • Closing a business: Eased the insolvency process with a new Companies Act (2009) that makes provisions for reorganization and administration of ailing businesses rather than going straight to liquidation. 
  • Paying taxes: made easier because of better training and equipment at the National Revenue Authority, a consolidated income tax act, and a new value added tax (GST) that replaces seven sales taxes.  
  • Getting credit: Made it easier for companies to get credit by providing for the use of fixed and floating charges over company assets as a result of the new Companies Act (2009).
  • Protecting investors: Strengthened investor protections under a new company law that enhanced director liability and improved disclosure requirements. 
  • Starting a business: Made easier with the establishment of a one-stop shop for business registration at the OARG and the enactment of the Business Start-Up Act in 2007. 

These reforms make it easy and convenient to do businesses in Sierra Leone by drastically reducing the time, costs and procedures of doing business especially when compared with that in other countries in the Mano River Union in particular and sub-Saharan Africa in general.