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A Synopsis investments opportunities in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone being ranked 148 out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 Report above the ranking of neighboring Guinea and Liberia depicts the Country as a destination for investment.
Sierra Leone has lots of investment opportunities given the fact that there are relatively low numbers of current investors in some sectors. Potential investors or companies may enjoy the benefits of a first-mover advantage. Nevertheless, with the government focused on improving the investment climate and removing administrative barriers for doing business, this benefit will be available only to first hand grabbers.
Recent improvement have led to faster and cheaper ways to start a business
In Sierra Leone, there has been recent improvement in the efficiency of starting a business. Government authorities drastically cut costs and expedited the process for starting a business by making the use of a lawyer optional and abolishing other registration formalities, including requirements to pay taxes upfront and obtain permission for registration to start a business. Once a business has been started, investors must obtain sector-specific business licenses. Foreign investors enjoy a level playing field when starting a business. There are no minimum capital requirements and no restrictions on equity; however, foreign investors cannot invest in the following sectors: arms and ammunition, cement block manufacturing, granite and sand stone excavation, manufacturing of certain consumer durable goods, and military, police, and prison guards’ apparel and accoutrements.
Sector-specific business licenses. In some sectors such as mining and fisheries; licenses can be obtained from sector ministries
Sierra Leone also has favorable tax rate for foreign investors. At the domestic level, there are few specific restrictions, controls, fees or taxes on foreign ownership of companies in Sierra Leone. Foreign companies can own Sierra Leonean companies (including outright) subject to certain registration formalities being completed. Foreign and domestic investors are treated the same under the law regulating this area. They are exempted from corporate income tax for the first five years and exempted from Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income tax for up to six employees with “non-available skills” for the first three years of employment. Investors in agriculture also enjoy favorable tax rates. For example, investments in tree crops and rice are exempted from corporate income tax for the first 10 years.
Investors can also use foreign technical and unskilled workers in their businesses situated in Sierra Leone.
Our country also provides duty free access to large markets under treaties such as African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the United States, and the Cotonou Agreement with the European Union. Companies can benefit from this access by establishing itself to supply these markets.
Sierra Leone also has Unique Selling Points due to significant amounts of arable land, most of which remains uncultivated, with Millions hectares of arable land still available for cultivation. Even though the dominant form is customary tenure under communal ownership, the country is now very advanced in developing and harmonizing procedures for private land acquisition for agribusiness investments.
The country has a tropical climate with principally two seasons; the dry season, which lasts from October to April, and the rainy season lasts from May to October; July and August are the wettest months, whilst March and April are the hottest months.
With an international airport, located at Lungi, across an estuary from the capital city of Freetown, the country’s most important gateway for trade and commerce, the Port (Queen Elizabeth II Quay) featuring one of the finest natural harbors on the West African Coast, and the most liberalized sectors in the economy which is The telecommunications sector Sierra Leone can be regarded as indeed an ideal place for foreign investment
Sierra Leoneans are very peaceful and accommodating as it is among the few countries where the rights of foreign nationals are well protected and they can move across the country without a feeling of insecurity.
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