President Ernest Bai Koroma on Tuesday 12th October 2010 launched the First Step Economic Opportunity Zone at Newtown in the Western Rural District. This is a private sector initiative by World Hope International in line with the president’s Agenda for Change drive to transform Sierra Leone from import to export Zone through private investment.
Making his address to the gathering that included Cabinet Ministers, parliamentarians, diplomats, investors and traditional rulers, the president said it was an opportunity for Sierra Leone to launch an Economic Opportunity Zone which has the propelling propensity to pave way for many investors into to the country.
“This initiative is among many of my dreams including the Agenda for Change to transform Sierra Leone from import to export Zone,” he maintained, adding that the First Step Economic opportunity Zone had the prospect of creating jobs for over eighty people, provide skills and markets for local farmers who crop in oranges mangoes and pineapples. He expressed hope that with the industry in operation, Sierra Leone will be proud of its own goods especially juice in the markets both locally and overseas.
He assured the investors of three years free corporate export and import tax as part of their negotiating package.
At the ceremony were World Hope International CEO, Dr. Korl Eastlack, Mr. Claudio Scotto CEO Africa Felix Juice and Mr. Richard Schrocdu, President/ CEO First Step who in their speeches all promised to make Sierra Leone an export processing zone with corporation from the people.
Hope International negotiated with the government of Sierra Leone, land owners and local authorities for a 99 years’ freehold lease of 50 acres of land for the First Step project.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.