As the week long program on the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ progressed the outgoing Minister of Lands and Country Planning Benjamin Davies has pointed out that effective land management constitutes a significant component in doing business reform.
He stated that 16 months ago when he took over as Minister, that Ministry was in bad shape and he had to set up a technical committee to review all the land legislations for effective and efficient use of lands right from the western area to the provinces, so as to create the enabling environment for potential investment in the country.
On assuming office he explained, he pledged to regularize land management throughout the country with the application of a computerized system because land issues are considered very critical in doing business.
The Minister further went on to say that before he took over that Ministry there was a protracted process of land registration, pointing out that out of 22 protracted processes he inherited in registering land, he did his best to reduce it to 15 steps in order to expedite the registration process which he said can enhance access to land and proper rights.
In preparedness of implementing some of the new legislations the Minister said his Ministry has facilitated the training of some 200 surveyors that would be distributed throughout the country as part of their formulating strategy on effective and efficient land management.
It has been said he noted that some of the bad old legislations on land management in the country such as land tenure system accounts for some of the stumbling block in doing business as groups of people or families hold on to land without any form of investment thereby depriving investors the opportunity of investing on land.
Senior policy adviser at the Bank of Sierra Leone Ibrahim Steven, maintained that his Bank currently leads a financial development Programme which supports an efficient operation in the financial sector in order to provide access to finance.
He spoke about the strides made to promote agriculture and micro finance Programs in the country. He said, a national strategy paper has been prepared on the financial sector plan and would get cabinet approval soon. He added that the bank is highly supportive of the business reform.
He concluded that, the Bank is seeking to create a credit reference bureau that would be tasked with making loan determinations.
A colleague journalist and President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalist Umaru Fofana recently expressed his reservation on the 156th position of Sierra Leone on the Ease of Doing Business scale and classification of Sierra Leone as the best place in doing business.
He argued that Sierra Leone is the best place to start up a business but also the most difficult place to sustain a business and off course the most difficult place to live.