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Government of Sierra Leone Ministry of Trade & Industry
By
Jun 10, 2009, 17:06
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Government of Sierra Leone Ministry of
Trade & Industry

NEWS RELEASE:
"Bizness dey cam begin swit na Salone"

Key Business Legislation Enacted

- Government Making Strides to Improving Sierra Leones Business Climate -

Freetown, 4 June 2009 The Government of Sierra Leone today completed the enactment of key business legislations: the Companies Act, the Bankruptcy Act, the Payment Systems Act, and the Goods and Services Act in a bid to boost the business climate in the country.

The new Companies Act is an update from the original Act (passed in 1960) and brings Sierra Leone in line with international company legislation standards.

The Bankruptcy Act, new to Sierra Leone, makes it easier for individuals to declare bankruptcy and close a business. (Provisions for the closure (winding up) of companies are located in the Companies Act.)

The Payment Systems Act ensures payments are done properly and electronically and in line with ECOWAS monetary policies (WAMZ). It also creates further business opportunities for telecoms operators and payment service providers as all banks will be required to connect electronically to the system.

The Goods and Services Act provides the framework for the implementation and operation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), a value added tax on the domestic consumption of goods and/or services (not exports), paid as a percentage of their monetary value at the time they are sold. GST will replace a number of existing indirect taxes and as a result, increase the efficiency and cost effectiveness of Sierra Leones taxation system.

The enactment of these laws underlines governments commitment to improving the investment climate in the country. Many areas of business reform require legislative change. As a result, a pre-legislation workshop was held with Parliamentarians earlier this month in a bid to fast-track some of the laws. The workshop was co-funded by the Government of Sierra Leone, development partners and the private sector, including the Ministry of Trade & Industry, the Bank of Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone Bankers Association, NATCOM, the Sierra Leone Business Forum and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The effort was pioneered by the Reform Legislation Committee (RLC), a sub-committee established by the Governments Doing Business Reform Committee (DBRC) which comprises of the heads of various MDAs: Ministry of Trade and Industry (Chair), Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Labour, Central Bank, National Revenue Authority, NASSIT, Office of the Administrator and Registrar General, State House (Private Sector Adviser) and the Government Printing Department.

The new laws will not only have an immediate effect on the current operational landscape of the private sector, but also increase investor confidence in the country. The enactment is also timely for Sierra Leones contribution to the IFC/World Banks annual Doing Business survey which ranks economies around the world on the ease of doing business. Last year, Sierra Leone ranked 156 out of 181 economies. The rankings are published annually in September and the government is hoping for a marked improvement this year.

###

For more information contact:
Lansana Bayoh Sesay
Public Relations Officer
Ministry of Trade & Industry
(+23276) 637 315

Millicent Hamilton-Hazeley
Doing Business Coordinator
(+23276) 912 823


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