By Lansana Fofanah.
In what seems to be the transformation of the Sierra Leone Local Content Agency (SLLCA), the newly appointed Director General, Fodeba Daboh has called on Foreign Direct Investors, Corporate entities and Business sectors in the country to submit their Local Content Plans to the Agency as mandated by law. The Local Content Plan, according to Director Daboh, will enable the agency to have an insight into the activities of these companies and how they intent to comply with employment and empowerment of citizens of Sierra Leone within their various departments.
He noted that their policies towards procurement procedures from local firms will enable the Agency to monitor the implementation of the SLLCA Act.
In a recent letter written to companies which was copied to the Minister of Trade and Industry and the Parliamentary Oversight Committee Chairman on Trade, Director Daboh encouraged companies and other entities that fall under the Local Content Agency’s purview to timely submit their plans which will help them to strengthen the mutual corporation between them.
He commended the SL Mining for being the first company to proactively move to invite the Agency to assess their operations even though they were yet to embark on a full scale mining operation for the Agency to tell whether they are working in-line with the Act. This according to him was a step in the right direction which other companies should follow. He however said that requests have started coming from companies for an extension of the deadline as they were supposed to comply fourteen days upon receipt of the letter. “What I have so far learned from these companies is that there was a big communication gap between them and the Agency as our mandate was not clearly spelt out to them. I see these companies as partners in development, because without their existence, we cannot be here talking about local content and that is why I am encouraging them to cooperate with the Agency, and their compliance is encouraging,” he declared.
Director Daboh said that he sees himself more as a facilitator between FDIs and government in order to create an amicable business friendly environment.
He maintained that since his appointment few months ago, he has been able to inculcate the much-needed change the Agency needs and has created the visionary leadership the Agency has been lacking before. His several meetings with development partners such as the World Bank, ILO GIZ, Cordaid, DFID and the Sierra Leone Association of Non- Governmental Organization (SLANGO) to name but a few, were successful as he was able to explain their mandates and why the SLLCA should be supported in its implementation programs as it cuts across every sector in the country. “The visionary idea of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio is to encourage and protect FDI’s in the country and we are doing everything to create a win-win situation between investors and our indigenous businesses. SLLCA Act of 2016 cuts across the mining sector, agro-business, manufacturing, fishery, marine time and every other agency. While we intend to create a balance situation, our hope is to see the growth of our indigenous businesses as other countries have been able to implement successfully their Local Content Policies which have given them the desired results. I believe we must follow such steps if we are to achieve the ‘Made in Salone’ initiative.
President Julius Maada Bio’s decision to appoint Mr. Daboh to head the SLLCA, has been commended by Sierra Leoneans both at home and abroad as a laudable decision which has seen the popularization of the Local Content Agency Act within the shortest time.