Sierra Leone: The House of Parliament has on Thursday 29th April 2021 debated and ratified trading agreements aimed at improving the socio-economic fabric of the country despite the main Opposition APC’s refusal to contribute to the debate.
The Agreement Between Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and MACCEM Industries (SL) Limited, Dated December 2020 and The Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and Dura Plast and Ferro Fabric Sierra Leone Limited, Dated January 2021 were enacted.
According to the Minister of Trade Edward Hinga Sandy, the two agreements are in line with the policies embedded in the New Direction manifesto with a view of improving the trading sector, disclosing that the cement production plant would be investing $10 Million, which will cut down on the total amount of imported cement, and boost the economy through job creation.
“Meccem is a company that is going to establish a cement factory in two phases – one is the importation of bulk cement and packaging and, two – deals with developing a grinding facility in Sierra Leone,” which he said, will end cement trading monopoly and boost production and employment.
The other agreement he said has to do with the production of plastics materials and processed iron – phase one deals with the recycling of scrap metals and two; extracting iron from iron ore, for the first time in the value addition of raw materials.
The Chairperson for the Committee on Trade, Hon. Veronica Kadie Sesay appreciated both agreements and spoke about their potential contributions toward the development of the country such as job creation and revenue mobilization by Government.
The Leader of the Coalition for Change (C4C) Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina described both agreements as “non-controversial” and that they would cut down on unemployment and underemployment in the country, explaining that having a cement production plant would account against monopoly.
He however raised concern over the availability of adequate energy to support production which according to him requires massive energy supply.
Deputy Leader of Government Business, Hon. Bashiru Silikie said the best way to improve the economy is by the establishment of manufacturing companies to boost the economy. Calling on others to follow suit, he said over 2,000 Sierra Leoneans stand to gain employment opportunities from these companies.
The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Chernor Bah said, “our position in the last sitting remains the same and we will not say anything regarding these agreements”. He argued that they have abstained because the said agreements were tabled under illegal circumstances.
The Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Sahr Nyuma said the Government is bent on changing the narratives of investment patterns in the country and commended the two agreements on manufacturing.
According to him trading concessions would be given to Dura Plast and Ferro Fabric for its establishment in rural communities and as stipulated in the Finance Act 2021.
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