In its bid to fast-track economic growth in the competitive global economy, the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Protection Agency (SLIEPA), yesterday commenced a one day induction and orientation program for its newly recruited staff.
The induction and orientation clinic took place at the SLIEPA’s third floor office auditorium, at Standard Chartered Bank building, at Lightfoot Boston Street.
The aim of the seminar was for directors and staff to develop strategies in meeting their objectives which ranges from basic export promotions to re-building the country’s image.
In his statement- after introducing SLIEPA’s board of directors and executive directors which comprises members from both public and private sector- the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rodney Sandy explained that the agency has come a long way, adding that with the advent of the technical staff the agency is now prepared to take-up the task that it was established for.
In her statement, the chairperson of SLIEPA’s board of directors, Mrs Gladys Strasser-King disclosed that “SLIEPA is the successor to the now defunct Sierra Leone Export Development and Industrialization Centre (SLEDIC).”
Explaining the function of the agency, she said, it “includes export promotion through awareness raising of the international market opportunities available, as well as providing technical advice to exporters.”
SLIEPA’s board chairperson furthered that the agency also seeks to attract investment from credible investors’ nationally and internationally, by marketing the opportunities in the country and ensuring an ethical investment climate, free from bureaucratic bottlenecks and constraints.”
Meeting these objectives, she said is “herculean;” particularly in this era of globalization, when “Sierra Leone has to compete with [the rest of the world] for a share of the global trade”, she explained.
Mrs Strasser-King explained that until recently, investment and business start-up were hampered by a myriad of bureaucratic hurdles, which often frustrated genuine investors. “To ease these difficulties,” she disclosed that government recently promulgated the Sierra Leone Investment and Protection Agency Act, 2007, the Business Registration Act 2007 and the General Law (Business Start-up) Act, 2007.
Mrs Strasser-King underscored that these are the first of a series of measures planned by Government to remove administrative barriers to investment. She hoped, that “with these legislations and the measures proposed, the investment and business environment would be friendlier.”
She revealed that the Department of International Development (DFID) through the Foreign Investment Advisory Services (FISA) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), have intervened at an appreciable level to complement government’s funding in ensuring that the agency commences its activities on a sound footing.
She disclosed that UNIDO has also pledged support to further enhance the agency’s activities. She expressed optimism that by the high professional standing of the staff “the board expects that all staff would adhere to the code of ethics and standard of conduct of the Agency”.
In the CEO’s presentation, he highlighted among others things, the structure, aims, vision and objectives of SLIEPA. He also showed a documentary which showcased Sierra Leone’s huge investment potentials.
By Ophaniel Gooding