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Investment Guide

BILL
Supplement of the Sierra Leone Gazette Vol.CXXXV, No. 45,
Dated 5th August, 2004

THE INVESTMENT PROMOTION ACT, 2004
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Part 1-PRELIMINARY
1. Interpretation
2. Application.
3. Other investment laws.

PART II-INVESTMENT PROCEDURES
4. Investment in business enterprises.
5. Facilitating agency.
6. Request for assistance.

PART III –INVESTMENT INCENTIVES AND GUARANTEES
7. Investment incentives.
8. Capacity building support.
9. Foreign exchange remittance.
10. Remittance of profit.
11. Guarantee of capital repatriation and of loan remittance.
12. Guarantee against expropriation.

PART IV –MISCELLANEOUS
13. Export licences not required.
14. Expatriate labour requirement.
15. Expatriate first arrival duty waiver.
16. Access to land.
17. Settlement of disputes
18. Official secrecy.
19. Regulations.
20. Repeal.

A BILL ENTITLED
The Investment Promotion Act, 2004.

Being an Act to promote and attract private investment both domestic and foreign for the development of production and value adding activities, to improve exports and provide employment opportunities; and generally to create an environment conducive to private investment and to provide for other related matters.

Date of commencement

ENACTED by the President and Members of Parliament in this present Parliament assembled

1. Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-

"incentives" when used in relation to investment, means the legal provisions designed to encourage investment and include any reduction in taxes and the conferment of any advantage in respect of particular investment;

"investment" means the direct investment of foreign or domestic capital into a business enterprise in Sierra Leone;

"investor" means any natural person or legal entity, including companies, business associations, partnerships, sole proprietorships and other organizations constituted or otherwise duly organized under the laws of Sierra Leone to operate a business enterprise;

"Minister" means that Minister responsible for trade and industry;

"SLEDIC" means the Sierra Leone Export Development and Investment Corporation established by section 2 of the Sierra Leone Export Development and Investment: Corporation Act, 1993.

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2. Application.

This Act shall not apply to investment in the production of arms and ammunition, military, police and prison officers' apparel and accoutrement.

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3. Other investment laws.

In addition to this Act, there are other enactments providing specially for investment in business enterprises concerned with tourism, fisheries mines and minerals, banks, non-bank financial institutions and other business activities, including such matters as the incentives for any such investment.

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4. Investment in business enterprises.

Any investor whether domestic or foreign may invest in any legitimate form of business enterprise.

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5. Facilitating agency.

1. For the purpose of facilitating an investment in any Facilitating business enterprise, SLEDIC shall be responsible for implementing agency. the provisions of this Act.

2. For the purposes of this Act, it shall be the function of of SLEDIC-

1. to facilitate registration of business enterprise;

2. to assist investors in obtaining permits, licences, certificates or clearances, as the case may be, needed for the commencement of business

3. to provide information to potential investors on matters relating to investment;

4. to assist potential investors in identifying joint venture partners in Sierra Leone;

5. to provide such other assistance as may be needed by an investor for the realization of his investment; and

6. to do all such other things as may be necessary or incidental to the discharge of the functions conferred by this Act.

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6. Request for assistance.

1. Subject to section 5, any person who wishes to invest in a business Request for enterprise in Sierra Leone shall, on request, be assisted by SLEDIC to obtain assistance. assisted by the following:-
1. business name registration certificate;

2. certificate of incorporation;

3. business registration certificate;

4. business licence certificate.

2. SLEDIC shall seek the cooperation of the relevant authorities to facilitate the documentation referred to in subsection (1) within seven working days.

3. SLEDIC shall also facilitate the process for the renewal of any certificate referred to in subsection (1), if so requested.

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7. Investment incentives.

Any of the enactments referred to in section 3, may, by statutory incentives instrument made by the Minister, be amended from time to time for the purpose of conferring or amending, the incentives or other advantages for the investments concerned, whether in the form of the reduction of taxes or otherwise.

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8. Capacity building support.

In order to further improve the capacity of Sierra Leonean business enterprises to compete effectively, both locally and internationally, the Government with assistance from its development partners shall provide to such business enterprises a number of capacity building and special support programmes which may include-

1. business training;

2. micro-finance (including support for bulk- buying);

3. technical assistance;

4. business incubator programmes;

5. pre-qualification programmes for access to credit;

6. credit registry; and

7. registry of local enterprises for joint ventures.

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9. Foreign exchange remittance.

Expatriate personnel with work permits shall be permitted to make remittances aboard through their commercial banks, subject to such withholding tax obligations as are contained in the Income Tax Act 2000, if applicable.

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10. Remittance of profit.

The remittance of profits, after taxes, earned by a Foreign Remittance investor from a business enterprise is guaranteed as constituting current international of profits. transactions in respect of which payments transferred abroad shall be allowed without restriction.

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11. Guarantee of capital repatriation and of loan remittance.

1. An investor may freely repatriate proceeds received liquidation of a business enterprise and awards resulting from any capital settlement of disputes in respect of such business enterprise.

2. There shall be no restriction on the transfer of repayments Of principal and interest on an arms length third party loan contracted outside Sierra Leone and registered with the Bank of Sierra Leone but interest payments due on such loans may be subject to the withholding tax obligation in the Income Tax Act, 2000 if applicable.

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12. Guarantee against expropriation. (Act No. 6 of of 1991)

No private investment, whether domestic or foreign, shall expropriated or nationalized in a direct or indirect manner, except in the special cases specified by section 21 of the Constitution which, among other things, stipulates that the investment or other property be reasonably required for public purposes and that prompt and adequate compensation shall be paid in the event of any expropriation or nationalization

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13. Export licences not required.

No export licence is required for the export of locally produced goods except gold, diamonds and such other goods or materials as may be prescribed from time to time.

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14. Expatriate labour requirement.

A business enterprise which requires expatriate labour shall apply to the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Industrial Relations for consideration in accordance with any enactment relating to labour matters.

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15. Expatriate first arrival duty waiver.

The personal effects of any expatriate issued with a work permit and his immediate family shall be exempt from customs duty under the arrival concessions in force.

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16. Access to land.

The Government acknowledges that access to land is vital to the operation of a business enterprise and will take necessary steps to facilitate an investor's access to land.

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17. Settlement of disputes

1. Where a dispute arises between an investor and the Government in of disputes respect of an investment in a business enterprise or in respect of an investment obstructed or delayed by Government, the parties will use their best efforts to settle dispute amicably.

2. Where any dispute between an investor and the Government in respect of a business enterprise is not settled amicably, it may be submitted at the option of the aggrieved party to arbitration as follows:-

1. in accordance with the rules of procedure for arbitration of the United National Commission on International Trade Laws (UNCITRAL).

2. in the case of a foreign investor within the framework of any bilateral or multilateral agreement on investment protection to which the Government and the country of which the investor is a national are parties; or

3. in accordance with any other national or international machinery for the settlement of investment disputes as the parties may agree.

3. Where any dispute between an investor and a non-governmental body in respect of an enterprise is not settled amicably, and where no recourse is available through arbitration or previously established contracts or other legal instruments, then the matter shall be referred to the relevant legal authority within Sierra Leone for settlement, in accordance with the law binding such transaction.

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18. Official secrecy.

Any person who, in the course of his official duties transfers or secrecy communicates proprietary information obtained from an investor to any other person to whom he is not authorized by any enactment or by the Minister of t transfer or communication such information commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding three million leones or to imprisonment for a t term not exceeding one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.

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19. Regulations.

The Minister may, be statutory instrument, make Regulations to give effect to the provisions of this Act.

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20. Repeal.(Repeal of Act No. 9 of 1969.)

The Non-Citizens (Trade and Business) Act, 1969 is hereby repealed.

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MEMORANDUM OF OBJECTS AND REASONS

It has been the Government's desire to re-activate economic activities in all sectors of the economy following the return of peace and stability in Sierra Leone. With its rich human and material resource potential, Sierra Leone provides an attractive place for investment with protections and guarantees.

The object of this Bill, therefore, is to provide the legal, economic and financial framework for investment and to provide incentives for investors who contribute substantially to the realization of the major objectives of the national development plans and programmes.

Clause 4 encourages domestic and foreign investors to invest in any legitimate form of business enterprise.

Clause 5 and 6 place on Sierra Leone Export Development and Investment Corporation (SLEDIC) the responsibility of facilitating investments and receipts of requests from persons seeking assistance to invest in the country, including assistance for the registration of businesses in accordance with the laws of Sierra Leone.

Clauses 7 to 12 (Part III) provide for investment incentives and guarantees while clauses 13 to 20 (Part IV) provide for such miscellaneous matters as expatriate labour requirement, expatriate first arrival duty waiver, access by investor to land, settlement of investment disputes and the repeal of the Non-Citizen ( Trade and Business) Act, 1969.

DR KADI SESAY,
Minister of Trade and Industry.

FREETOWN
SIERRA LEONE
AUGUST, 2004

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PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING DEPARTMENT, SIERRA LEONE
GAZETTE NO. 45 OF 5TH AUGUST, 2004

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