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Last Updated: Sep 28th, 2011 - 17:21:20 
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EDITORIALS  

Protect Indigenous Traders from Wholesalers!
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Sep 28, 2011, 17:14
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Sierra Leone has one of the easiest business investment legislation in Africa. Fact! Government has made investment in the country so conducive and easy that many foreign entrepreneurs are currently refocusing their investment radars towards Sierra Leone. Fact!

The Awareness Times does appreciate this wise decision by government particularly at a time when the country needs foreign investors to join our local entrepreneurs to open businesses here, a strategy that will surely creates employment facilities and augments economic growth. 

Many Sierra Leoneans believe in the popularity of this strategy taking in to consideration the untold sufferings and wanton destructions of our business institutions and infrastructures in the aftermath of Sierra Leones bloody rebel war that ended in 2002.

 

Now, nearly a decade later, a new look Sierra Leone has resurfaced flourishing with international businesses in the country. Foreign and Diaspora based Sierra Leonean investors are coming to our shores day in day out with excellent business proposals, thanks largely to the easy accessibility of our investment laws.

 

This newspaper, despite welcoming all true meaning investors to Sierra Leone, still believes that government must put the priority of its citizens at the top of the Agenda for Change. The Sierra Leone Constitution is here to primarily protect the interests of its citizenry first and foremost. Fact! We also need the blessings of investors. Fact!

 

That is why we welcome unreservedly governments recent commitment to create an enabling environment for local and foreign investments that will separate wholesale trading and retail trading so that indigenous petty traders will do their businesses profitably without any encroachment from wholesalers.

 

Sierra Leones Trade and Industry Minister Dr. Richard Konteh has recently promised to revisit the 1969 Trade Act which was originally legislated to protect indigenous petty traders from unfair competition from wholesalers.

 

It is very clear that the petty traders in Sierra Leone are 90% Sierra Leoneans, mostly women traders. These petty business men and women always buy their goods from wholesalers who are mostly foreigners to sell for marginal profits. You see street hawkers peddling here and there selling their hand held goods for small returns. These types of people need protection!

 

Disappointingly for these indigenous peddlers, there are foreign wholesalers, especially the Indians and Lebanese nationals, who are doing retail businesses as well. For foreigners to do this is not only detrimental to indigenous petty traders, it is also an insult to the rights and duties of Sierra Leoneans. Such unpatriotic business legislation does not happen in other countries. We must not allow it here.


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