NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR & EXHIBITION.
The Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, annual Trade Fair and exhibition took place at the outer perimeter of the National Stadium from Tuesday 9th to Friday 26th April 2013.
The theme for last year’s trade fair was ‘Enhancing National Prosperity through SME Investment and Export Development.
Last year saw the largest number of exhibitors since the Chamber of Commerce started organising trade fairs. The total number of participants was two hundred and six (206). Most of the participants were local, but there were also a significant number of international participants. The international participants came from Ghana, Gambia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Benin and Kenya.
CENTRE FOR ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE AND RESOLUTION TRAINING PROGRAMME
Council member and Coordinator of the program, Mrs. Millicent Lewis–Ojumu, re–affirmed Chambers commitment to business houses to utilise ADR to resolve commercial disputes. Many businesses particularly those in the agricultural and petty trading/informal sectors shy away from resolving their disputes through the formal
On the 23rd -25th September, 2013 the Chamber with the support from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK organised its first International Training Workshop. This attracted over 70 (seventy) personnel from Banks, Insurance Companies, Trading, Construction, Legal and Professional Firms. Successful applicants had the opportunity to gain Membership access after they had completed the Introductory Course to Membership and the Accelerated Route to membership.
AFRICA GROWTH OPPORTUNITY ACT (AGOA)
Council Member and Coordinator, Ms. Ayodele Wak–Williams through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, have been coordinating SMEs which will benefit from the US Government signature trade initiative with Sierra Leoneans for over 10 years. It is one of Chamber’s port services that provide incentives for Sierra Leonean SMEs.
AGOA should help forge stronger commercial ties between Sierra Leone and the United States, while it helps to integrate Africa into the global economy. US firms may find new opportunities in the privatization of Sierra Leonean state-owned enterprises or in partnership with other African companies in infrastructure, agriculture projects and commercial industry. US firms can also benefit by forming joint ventures with Sierra Leonean or other firms to take advantage of AGOA benefits.
ACCESS TO FINANCE MEETING AT BANK COMPLEX KINGTOM – 23rd OCTOBER 2013
The Chairman was Dr. Michael Kargbo, former Private Sector adviser to His Excellency the President. The programme was moderated by Dr. Samuel Itam. The Chairman reminded the meeting about the strides the Government had made in carrying out the creation of SME Financial Institutions through the Sierra Leone Commercial Banks. Mr. T.l. Denkeh, who represented the Governor of Bank of Sierra Leone, stated that over the years the bank has increased access to rural Finance by improving environment for credit and promoting fast and immediate settlement. Banks have tried to strengthen the regulatory framework and have establish 13 (thirteen) community Banks through International Fund for Agricultural Development.
The Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Madam Mabinty Daramy who represented the Minister said that the Macro Economic strategy of the Government had been consolidated by strengthening roads and agriculture which will help create a vibrant private sector. Her Ministry through the Ministry of Trade & Industry have established an SME funding and the Government will continue to create an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs.
Other statements from the Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Agriculture were delivered by Mr. Edison Borbor and Mr. Mansaray respectively. Responses from the Managing Director of First International Bank (FIB), Mrs. Hafsatu G. Jalloh – Agbaje stated that another primary source of funding is through FIB OSUSU scheme and Mr. Ansu from United Bank of Africa said SME’s should make sure that they have the right documents before applying for loans.
SLCCIA ANNUAL COMMERCIAL LEAGUE – 2013
The Opening Ceremony started with a colourful float parade from Lamina Sankoh Street to the National Stadium. Fourteen (14) Corporate Institutions took part and were able to advertise their products from the Chamber Secretariat to the National Stadium. Throughout the competition, Opening Statements were heard from the Vice President Alhaji Sam Sumana, Minister of Trade and Industry, Alhaji Usman Boi Kamara, and Representatives from Sierra Leone Football Association and President of the Chamber. The climax of this year’s competition was between Reliance Insurance Trust Corporation (RITCORP) and National Social Security Insurance Trust (NASSIT), which ended in penalties after extra time. RITCORP won by penalty after extra time. Objectives of this competition were:
- To improve business to business relationships amongst companies and staff
- To provide networking amongst institutions and customers
- To create an enabling environment for business
- To help develop football in Sierra Leone
- To create employment for Sierra Leoneans
NIGERIA – SIERRA LEONE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN ABUJA ON 17TH JULY, 2013
The 1st Vice President, Dr. A. Abboud and Executive Secretary, Mr. Oscar Hughes of the Chamber of Commerce traveled to Abuja for the launching ceremony of the Nigeria – Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce. The reasons for this visit were:
- To promote and maximize trade relations between Nigeria and Sierra Leone through a regular exchange of information among its members
- To advise the government and MDAs of both countries on bilateral trade relations issues;
- To advise the members of opportunities and problems, legislative or otherwise, that may arise from tracking activities;
- To set up an information network that will promote bilateral trading activities between Nigeria and Sierra Leone by facilitating decision making for members and those willing to trade in Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
- To organise functions on the subjects of current relevance to the commercial community;
- To ensure effective policy advocacy through membership of the Nigeria – Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce (NSLCC) Diplomatic Visit to the Chamber:
On the 6th March 2013 a delegation from South Africa headed by Ms Aminata Kallay
visited the Chamber. Their mission was to assess the political consistency of the country and to establish potential businesses. On the 5th of May 2013, an Indian delegation led by The Vice President Energy Consulting, Mr. Siddarth Mehta and officials from the Ministry of Youth and Employment visited the Chamber. Their mission was to introduce skills training to the Private Sector. This is training of unskilled labourers in the various industries. The courses include plumbing, building construction, computer training, automobile, mining etc.
A team from the World Bank led by Mr. Alexandre Laure visited the Chamber on the 12th July 2013. Their mission was to enquire from the Private Sector on how WATER & SANITATION could be improved in Sierra Leone. The Millennium Challenge Coordinating Unit led by Mr. Stuart Kerr visited the Chamber on the 17th July 2013. His mission was to enquire on how Private Investment could be encouraged by the MCC.
Mr. Sheriff Johnson a Nigerian Businessman living in South Africa visited the Chamber on the 24th July 2013. His mission was to establish trade missions between South Africa and Sierra Leone.
The Korean ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Bohyun Pyun visited the Chamber on the 9th August 2013. His mission was to work out modalities on how to promote Business between Korea and Sierra Leone. He further mentioned that presently there are only 100 Koreans living in Sierra Leone and out of this number only 30 are engaged in business.
His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma lunched the Nigeria – Sierra Leone Chamber of commerce in Abuja Nigeria on the 17th of July, 2013. The 1st Vice President, Dr. Adonis Abboud and Executive Secretary, Mr. Oscar Hughes were among dignitaries that gave brief exposé about the Chamber.
The Chamber has received invitations from Mining companies to visit their sites. Plans are under-way to make these visitations a reality.