Minister of Trade and Industry, Ibrahim Alpha Sesay, while addressing a Local Content Workshop held at the New Brookfields Hotel in Freetown on Tuesday, January 9th, 2024, underscored the pivotal role of local content as a catalyst for industrialization.
The Minister Sesay laid emphasis on the significance of leveraging domestic resources along value chains to achieve the goals of increased average local content levels, enhanced capacity utilization, and a boost in manufactured exports.
The workshop, which was organized by Sierra Rutile Limited (SRL), witnessed a substantial turnout, including the Director General of Sierra Leone Local Content Agency, Heads of various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), as well as representatives from SRL, local suppliers, contractors and service providers.
Highlighting the Sierra Leone Local Content Agency’s mandate, Minister Sesay stressed its commitment to fostering Sierra Leonean content development, fortifying the domestic private sector, and creating an investment-friendly climate that supports local supply chains. He referenced the regulatory role of the 2016 Act in ensuring the effective implementation of local content provisions.
Urging companies, especially those operating within specific environments, to prioritize qualified local businesses, the Minister affirmed the Government’s dedication to encouraging mining companies like SRL to bolster the capacities of local businesses, ensuring the delivery of quality services and implementing fair and transparent procurement and employment policies.
He called on Management of Sierra Rutile to engage regularly with local suppliers, fostering mutual understanding and transparency in procurement processes. Emphasizing the importance of beneficiaries treating the workshop with utmost seriousness, he expressed optimism that it will not only enhances knowledge and capacity but also expand business networks and linkages with multinational companies.
Fodeba Daboh, the Director General of Sierra Leone Local Content Agency, commended Sierra Rutile Limited for taking the lead in hosting the workshop, expressing the agency’s readiness to provide support where necessary. He emphasized the competitiveness and value addition aspects of local content, urging local suppliers to meet service delivery obligations.
Daboh debunked the perception that local content regulations are overly complex, rigid or harsh, citing the Sierra Leone Local Content Agency Act of 2016 as less restrictive compared to similar regulations in other African countries.
He asserted that the agency’s role has been more of a facilitator than a regulator, positioning the 2016 Act as an incentive with realistic targets for hiring Sierra Leonean citizens and encouraging raw material inputs.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sierra Rutile Limited, Theuns de Bryun, affirmed the company’s commitment to collaboration, economic development and empowering local companies. He stated that the success of the workshop aligns with the company’s vision for sustainable development and shared prosperity, emphasizing the importance of strong ties with local businesses.