The Sierra Leone Trade Policy is a sectoral national policy. Its main goal is to promote a robust and competitive private sector and support growing production and service sectors to trade, at national and international levels, and contribute ultimately to wealth and employment generation.The Policy discusses the issue of food security in the context of agriculture. It notes that the development and diversification of agriculture is critical in determining rural livelihoods and food security, and improving the trade balance, while agro-processing plays a central role in diversification. To this end, the Government will facilitate the implementation of the National Sustainable Agriculture Development Plan, which includes: (1) supporting commercialization of key agricultural products; (2) improving agriculture infrastructure, with a focus on rehabilitation and upgrading of feeder roads, development of irrigable swamps, modernization of storage and processing facilities; (3) strengthening agricultural and livestock research and establishing Farmer Field Schools; (4) encouraging the introduction of new technology as well as providing for the acquisition, multiplication, and dissemination of new and improved plant and animal material; (5) providing incentives for importation of agricultural equipment and increasing farm accessibility; (6) improving access to land, providing farm incentives and security in the countryside, and rehabilitating partially developed inland valley swamps; and (7) facilitating access to credit and encouraging private sector investment in food crops (rice, maize) and non-traditional export products such as cashews, gari (cassava), palm oil, and ginger. In addition, the Government will ensure proper planning and management of forest resources to build positive synergies between forests and sustainable exports as well as that national products meet international standards to improve market access.Further, the document also discusses the issue of fisheries noting that the Government will (1) facilitate private participation in the modernization of the fisheries infrastructure to international standards; (2) promote the application of quality standards in the fisheries sector; (3) strengthen the regulation of the fisheries industry towards export development; (4) support the building of management and research capability in the fisheries sector; (5) ensure the monitoring, control and surveillance of the fishery resources; and (6) facilitate credit and encourage private sector investment in fish processing industry.The Policy also covers other issues for improving agricultural production. Among others, it provides for measures regarding land management noting that the Government will (1) reform and simplify the process of acquiring land for productive investments; (2) introduce laws to allow women to inherit land; and (3) encourage the private sector to develop serviced industrial and agricultural estates with the necessary infrastructure.Moreover, the document prescribes policies regarding agro-processing and manufacturing indicating that in the area the Government will (1) facilitate credit, encourage private sector investment in agro-processing industry, and assess the profitability of, and support, the adaptation and making of small-scale processing equipment; (2) ensure that national products meet international standards to improve market access; (3) encourage and facilitate SMEs in artisanal and other manufacturing activities; (4) ensure adequate supply of electricity and other infrastructure to manufacturing; (5) provide incentives, including fiscal, and support to local manufacturing activities; (6) set up SME support centres (possibly, within an existing structure) to provide market information and targeted support to micro, small and medium enterprises; and (8) encourage private sector to market local products, etc.As a trade-related policy, the document also covers the issue of market access providing for the following objectives to be pursued: (1) improve market access for Sierra Leone’s agricultural, fisheries and industrial sectors, while developing their ability to compete in global markets; (2) obtain global tariff reductions and elimination of nontariff barriers on goods produced in Sierra Leone; (3) obtain reduction in subsidies on products competing with Sierra Leone’s products; (4) ensure that country obtains appropriate support towards building capacity to compete effectively in global trade; (5) promote access to a wider market to support industrialization, investments, and trade; (6) facilitate trade between Sierra Leone and other ECOWAS and rest of African countries; (7) enable Sierra Leone’s products to compete freely in the regional market; and (8) strengthen collective bargaining with the rest of the world.Lastly, the document also provides for consumer rights and the measures for ensuring their protection in the country. It also provides for protection of the intellectual property rights noting that the Government will promote awareness on intellectual property rights and develop and enforce appropriate intellectual property laws, including the WTO Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), to encourage innovation and technology development.With regard to the implementation of the Policy, it notes that the Ministry of Trade and Industry will be responsible for the strategic management and coordination of the implementation, working in partnership with a number of institutions across the Government, the private sector and external organizations.
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