The Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture as presently constituted came into existence in 1961. Prior to this there exists in Sierra Leone; the European Chamber of Commerce, the African Chamber of Commerce, and the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce. The Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture is a voluntary association of businessmen and women of all nationalists carrying on business in the country and who wish to become members. The Chamber does not interfere in the running of the business of its members except when its assistance is sought by individual members.
Membership of the Chamber is open to all registered merchants, bankers, insurers, manufacturers, trading associations and other professional bodies being principals or agents interested in trade, commerce, agriculture, shipping, transportation, communication,industry and general development and welfare of Sierra Leone. The Chamber is financially self reliant. Membership fees are calculated on the basis of the member’s business. Members are divided into various categories viz: a. Corporate b. Association c. Medium d. General
Membership stands at about 400.
Income from membership fees accounts for 85% of the total revenue of the chamber. Other sources of revenue for the Chamber include fees charged for various services such as issuing of certificate of Origin, the authentication of invoices, hire fees for the use of the Chamber’s Boardroom for meetings, profit from the Chamber’s Trade Fair and Exhibition Annual Dinner and Business Luncheons, and a percentage of the Chamber’s Board fees are paid to representatives of the Chamber Servicing Board Committee Organization and Management.
The chamber is directly by the general assembly and its elected council. The General Assembly, representing member businesses, meets quarterly. It is the supreme authority of the Chamber. At the Annual General Meeting of the Chamber, a President, First and Second Vice Presidents and members of the council are elected. The Council consists of about 25 members, ten elected members, the President, First and Second Vice President, Treasurer and Past Presidents who are ex-officio members. Other members are co-opted to serve in the Council. The Council meets once a month and its meetings are chaired by the President of the Chamber. The Council decides on policy issues of the Chamber, appoints members to committees to deal with specific subjects and issues.
The Chamber has representation in a number of Government Communities, statutory bodies, and corporations, and in this way makes its own contribution towards the efficient administration of Sierra Leone. Once every year, the Chamber holds its Annual Dinner to which the Head of State is invited together with the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Trade and a number of prominent personalities. Customarily, the President of the Chamber gives a speech at the dinner dinner which pin-points those matters which the Chamber considers important in the interest of the National Economy,and the Head of State or his representative’s response to this speech usually gives some indication of current or future Government policy on the issues raised in the President’s speech.
The main task of The Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture is to help its members individually and collectively, to promote and protect the interest of trade and industry
The Chamber represents the interest of the Business Community, at local levels. The Chamber is in a position to obtain information from many sources and convey these to the members on request, providing services to its members, including service dealing with trade promotion.
Services offered by the Chamber Include:
- Information services on business import/export.
- Helping members solve problems with Government Departments, Industries, Local authorities and other bodies.
- Issuing certificate of origin and the certificate of other export documents.
- Certifying the authenticity of documents used in international trade such as invoices..
- Issuing letters of introduction to members going abroad on business trips.
- A business library has been set up containing current Trade Directives and Trade Magazines to provide a reference service to the Business Community.
- A computerized Business Contacts Database on Sierra Leone companies is being up with facilities to retrieve information using various parameters. A number of other databases of relevance will be installed soon such as: