Stephen V. Lansana: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 March 2023:
Orange Sierra Leone, the China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG), Bintumani Hotel, Atlantic Hotel, and 12 other companies have breached the Sierra Leone Local Content Act 2016, the Director General of Sierra Leone Local Content Agency (SLLCA) said on Wednesday.
Fodeba Daboh told a news conference in Freetown that, section 40 of the Act states that the operator shall submit a Plan to be known as the Sierra Leonean Content Plan to the Agency and thereafter annually demonstrating compliance with the Sierra Leonean content requirements of the Act.
The 16 companies which are in violation of the Act include LeoCem in the Manufacturing industry, Easy Solar in the energy sector, Home Trading Company in the trading sector, Super Holding Limited in the manufacturing sector, Orange [SL] Limited in the service sector, Rainbow Paints and Chemicals in the manufacturing sector, Capitol Foods in the manufacturing sector, Mantrac SL Limited in the service sector, Sierra Diamonds in the mining sector, CSE in the construction sector, China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG) in the construction sector, OBT Shipping in the transport & Logistics, Maersk Line [SL] Limited in the Transport & Logistics sector, Bintumani Hotel in the Hospitality sector, Atlantic Hotel in the hospitality sector, and Sunbird in the Agribusiness sector.
“Our mandate is to ensure that sufficient linkage is enhanced between foreign direct investment and the local economy. So, anything short of that is in violation.”
He said, “We have thought it fit that after so many engagements across sectors, these companies have been in violation of the Act, which I believe they are undermining the effective implementation across sectors.”
He said that companies are required to submit a three-year local content plan to the Agency which is used to conduct Local Content Audits to determine compliance with the Plans that they have submitted to the Agency.
He disclosed that despite several engagements with these companies, they have never submitted their local content plan which undermines the operations of the Agency, adding that the Agency was left with no other option but to make the general public know about their violations.
He said that the Agency is invoking Section 69-72 of the Agency’s Act which provides offenses and penalties for such violations. “We are going to work closely with the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in ensuring that those offenses and penalties are fully implemented,” he said.
“We are mindful of the fact that we should create a friendly investment climate for the companies. But, at the same time we have a responsibility in making sure that we create the necessary opportunities for indigenes.”
He pointed out that the Agency is there to give technical guidelines and support to the various companies to ensure compliance. “It is not fair to the 200 or more multinational companies in the country who have complied.”
DG Daboh explained that on February 7, 2023, the Agency gave letters to these companies with a clear timeline to ensure that they submit their Local Content Plan to the Agency, noting that February 28, 2023, was the deadline for which they failed.
He said that the Agency is invoking Section 69-72 of the Agency’s Act which provides offenses and penalties for such violations: “We are going to work closely with the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in ensuring that those offenses and penalties are fully implemented.”