Sierra Leone has been rated as the top performer in the Mano River basin on the World Bank doing business report 2009, but the Commissioner General of National Revenue Authority Alieu Sesay says the Sierra Leonean consultants who undertook the data collection only did a disservice to the country because neither his office nor the ministry of finance was contacted for up to date facts.
This statement was contrary to what the Minister of Trade referred to as a leap in national economic growth and doing business in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone doing business reform efforts according to the report, started in 2005 and to date the country has improved its overall ranking by climbing four steps to 156th position this year from 160 position in 2007.
In this year’s annual survey report which ranks 181 economies on the ease of doing business
Sierra Leone ranks ahead of its neighbors in Liberia, Guinea and Cote D’lvoire in the Mano River basin.
On starting a business one of the 10 indicators of the doing business index, Sierra Leone is the top performer in West Africa. The report identifies Sierra Leone as effecting reforms in four key areas: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property and trading across borders.
The report indicated that the country drastically cut costs and sped the process of starting business by making the use of a lawyer optional and abolishing other registration formalities including requirements to pay taxes up front and obtain permission for registration from the exchange control.
Sierra Leone according to the report, has improved the organization of the building approval process and reinstated phased inspections cutting 24 procedures for obtaining a construction permit.
The country sped property registration from 235 days to 86 by lifting a ban as previously imposed requiring the director of survey to authenticate the cadastral map before each transfer.
The report added that Sierra Leone facilitated trade by eliminating the requirement for an export license.
Sierra Leone was labeled one of Africa’s most active reformers of business regulations.
The region recorded a record year with 28 countries completing 58 reforms and produced 3 of the world’s top 10 reformers: Burkina Faso Senegal and Botswana.
“The international financial institution has indicated that it is pleased with Sierra Leone’s performance. The improved ranking demonstrates that the country is increasingly committed to reform agendas that make it easier to do business” said Mary Agboli, International Financial Institution Operations Officer , Investment Climate team Sierra Leone.
Doing business ranks economies based on 10 indicators of business regulation that track the time and cost to meet government requirements in starting and operating a business.
By Solomon Rogers