Government earned a total of $39 million from two major deals in 2016 – telecoms giant Orange acquired Airtel Sierra Leone and Iluka took over Sierra Rutile.
Orange Group bought Airtel Sierra Leone in June 2016 and government received $30 million as capital gains tax. The telecoms operator is present in almost 30 countries on the globe. Iluka the Australian sand miner acquired Sierra Rutile for £215 million or $375 million further emphasizing Iluka’s position as the biggest rutile producer in the world. John Sisay the CEO of Sierra Rutile then gave government $8 million.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development announced through a press release how much government received as capital gains tax when orange bought Airtel. The ministry is yet to publish how much the country received as capital gains tax from the Sierra Rutile deal.
Even after the sale, Orange continues to operate as Airtel. A change of name may happen this 2017.
Iron ore, however, is the country’s major export commodity and determines growth. Economic growth is projected at 5.4 percent this year from 4.9 percent recorded in 2016 mainly on iron ore production. Commodity prices will determine achieving the 2017 growth projection. And the government should address governance and security risks concerns to ensure the peaceful conduct of activities leading to the 2018 elections. This will ensure companies operate uninterrupted.
Agriculture continues to be the major sector employing about 65 percent of the population. But many are small scale farmers growing more of what to eat than what to sell. Major investment in this sector in 2016 is Sunbird taking over Addax Bioenergy Company in the north.
Sierra Leone has crossed over to 2017 with economic challenges that also made headlines in the previous year. The country continues to experience high inflation that is in double digits, high exchange rate and high fuel cost resulting in high cost of living.
Monday January 09, 2017