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THE INVESTMENT PROMOTION ACT
Act No. 10 of 2004

The Investment Promotion Act No. 10 of 2004 has been passed into law. The Vice President of the Republic and The Minister of Trade following earlier precedents of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone recently took time out to promote the Act internationally. The Act speaks for itself and the importance of this for present day Sierra Leone cannot be overemphasised.

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 Act, 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 of the Act encourages domestic and foreign investors to invest in any legitimate form of business enterprise.

Below are excerpts of the Act.

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

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

10.

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

10.

(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 obligations in the Income Tax Act, 2000 if applicable.           

11.   No private investment, whether domestic or foreign, shall be 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 purpose and that prompt and adequate compensation shall be paid in the event of any expropriation or nationalization.

 PART IV- MISCELLANEOUS

 12.  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.

 13.  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.

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

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

 16.

(1) Where a dispute arises between an investor and the Government in 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 such dispute amicably.

  16.

(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:

16. (2)(a)  in accordance with the rules of procedure for arbitration of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Laws (UNCITRAL).               

16. (2)(b) in the case of a foreign investor within the framework of any bilateral or multi- lateral agreement on investment protection to which the Government and the country of which the investor is a national are parties; or

16. (2)(c) in accordance with any other national or international machinery for the settlement of investment disputes as the parties may agree.

 16.

(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 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.

17. Any person who, in the course of his official duties transfers or communicates proprietary information obtained from an investor to any other person to whom he is not authorized by any enactment or by the Minister to transfer or communicate such information commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not less than Three Million Leones or to imprisonment for a term not less than one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.


 

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