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Sierra Leone Business: Local businesses urged to brace for competition in the market

As the country revised some of its legal provisions to be in compliance with the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) for which Sierra Leone is one of the two remaining countries that is yet to implement the sub regional tax regime, local businesses have been urged to brace for competition in the market.
In an interview with the Minister of Trade and Industry, Peter Bayuku Konteh, his response on quality control was that as the country is obliged to work in line with the provisions of the agreement, he has asked businesses to perfect there productions.
“This is a globalized world, we are obliged to be competitive, it is no excuse that these people are stronger and they are bringing more things, we have to make sure that we take the lead where necessary and by the way this is our own country and it is Sierra Leoneans that have to develop the economy” he said.
The government he said is willing to create huge opportunities for farmers and producers, by proving resources and support especially in terms of capacity building so that they will be able to increase not only food production but manufacturing generally.
Local content concept he said is at the heart of this new government and should not be only limited to selling made in Sierra Leone but getting Sierra Leoneans employed at all levels in the business arena.
“We do not want to see Sierra Leoneans doing the cleaning, we want to see them as part of the management structures at all the investment in this country” Minister Konteh hoped.
The Minister noted that they have been engaging not only industries but the supermarkets, and he had given them a three months’ notice to ensure that local produce are being displayed in strategic locations on the shelves, emphasizing that it must be visible.
This new policy he says will require lots of planning and preparation, adding that consultations have already begun with Ministry of Agriculture and other agencies to ensure that there will be a steady flow of supply. He also added that this will guarantee quality and provide all the necessary things that decent marketing systems are supposed to have.
Concerning Brewery and the sorghum farmers, he said that the government has huge opportunity for the farmers to take advantage of which will encourage them to produce more.
This he said will be achieved through their strong collaboration with the Agriculture Ministry, in a bid to ensure that more food will be produced in the country and not only for local consumption but also for sale in international markets.
Minister Conteh said that he has engaged the management of Brewery on several occasions and he has taken notes of their concerns which will be addressed as they are in consultation with the Ministry of Finance.
“We will not only look at issues that have to do with Brewery, but we are looking at the whole manufacturing industry, so that once we address them it becomes advantageous to all of them to begin to do business in a way that they will thrive and prosper” he promised.
By Zainab Iyamide Joaque
Monday July 30, 2018.

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