Sierra Leone to strengthen trade ties with Nigeria – Envoy

Sierra Leone has pledged to strengthen economic relations and create the enabling environment to attract Nigerians to invest the mining sector.Dr. Solomon Gembeh, High Commissioner of Sierra Leone to Nigeria, said in Abuja on Tuesday on the sidelines of the commemoration of Sierra Leone’s 59th Independence Anniversary that trade cooperation existing between both countries 

dated back to 1961.

He noted that Nigeria and other African countries have huge deposits of diamond and iron ore and stressed the need for a review of Sierra Leone’s laws with a view to promoting bilateral trade.

“We are open to Nigeria to invest in Sierra Leone. Nigeria as our big brother has been good to us all through our development after the civil war, to Ebola, and recently in education.

“We have a lot of bilateral relationships with Nigeria being the largest economy in Africa and also the largest black nation in the world,” he said.

“Out of 13 banks that are operating in Sierra Leone, 9 are owned by Nigerians and 95 percent of the people, who work in those banks are Sierra Leoneans.

“We need to look at our relationships in Africa; how we can look at ourselves after this COVID-19; how we can trade with each other with free movement policy in place within the ECOWAS region.

“We should be able to trade and do things where we can be able to compete with the Western economies and not solely depend on them,” he said.

He said that although the mining sector in Sierra Leone was in a deplorable condition, measures had been taken to privatise some state owned enterprises and bring about economic profit.

“We reviewed the mining agreement in the interest of our country to enable us to focus on legalities and to strengthen the fight against corruption.

“Lots of people so far have been brought to book to account for over $100 million,” he added.

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