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Monday, February 6, 2023

STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE ON THE OFFICIAL LAUNCHING OF THE BURIED TREASURE REPORT ON THE THEME THE WEALTH MINING COMPANIES HIDE AROUND THE WORLD AT THE MARIANELLA PASTORIAL CENTER ALONG SYKE STREET, FREETOWN ON TUESDAY, 27TH JULY, 2021

HomeNewsSTATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE ON THE OFFICIAL LAUNCHING...

STATEMENT BY THE HONORABLE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE ON THE OFFICIAL LAUNCHING OF THE BURIED TREASURE REPORT ON THE THEME THE WEALTH MINING COMPANIES HIDE AROUND THE WORLD AT THE MARIANELLA PASTORIAL CENTER ALONG SYKE STREET, FREETOWN ON TUESDAY, 27TH JULY, 2021

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Mr. Chairman

Colleague Ministers

Heads of International and Local NGOs

Representatives of the fourth estate& Civil Society Organization

Distinguished Guest, Ladies & Gentlemen

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen

I am delighted and deeply honored for your official invitation of the Hon. Minister of Finance to serve asGuest Speaker at the official launching ceremony of a comprehensive study report on the Extractive Sector in Sierra Leone. I am honored to be representing him and further delighted to be part of this historic launching program organized by Women of Mining and Extractives in partnership with OXFAM-Sierra Leone.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me start by congratulating Women on Mining and Extractives in collaboration with OXFAM-Sierra Leone for commissioning a study on the extractive sector which culminated into a report titled “the Buried Treasure Report”, which we are about to officially launch. The noble initiative of organizing this solid Mining Forum that has brought together important stakeholders in the Extractive Sector is most timely; because our beloved nation is still grappling with the dreadful repercussions of not only the Ebola scourge between 2014 to 2015 but a COVID-19 pandemic, which has adversely affected not only the extractive sector but also other key sectors of the economy.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen

The recommendations contained in this very comprehensive report will help to provide answers to the many questions surrounding issues of effective governance of our natural resources and finances and will also assist government in identifying some of the challenges to mining revenue collections and how revenue collection from the extractive sector can be enhanced for the greater benefit of the citizens and posterity.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen

The Government of Sierra Leone is committed to crackdown on corruption with the view of increasing revenue transparency in the mining and extractive sector to increase their share of revenue in total government revenue. This was articulated in the speech delivered by His Excellency the President at the 2018 Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative Conference in Senegal, where he emphasized the missed opportunities for Sierra Leone, due tax avoidance in the Extractive Industry and the crucial role of transparency in combatting corruption and increasing accountability.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen

Tax avoidance is extremely damaging for Africa and especially Sierra Leone. This is a region that is home to half the world’s people living in extreme poverty. The mining and extractives industry is a relatively more significant part of the African economy compared to other regions. Tax avoidance also, undermines the prospect of extractives sector-driven economic development. It deprives countries of invaluable revenues to invest in public services and exacerbates inequality. Mining can encourage construction of infrastructure, create jobs and facilitate technology transfer, and has the potential to fund education and health through tax payments to governments. Given this the Government is extremely eager to encourage extractives industry investment.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen

The New Direction Government has done quite a lot in the area of improving Extractive Sector Governance. This is manifested in the enactment of the Extractive Industries Revenue Act in 2018, to better track revenues from the Extractive Sector of the economy including the establishment of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to help ensure that revenues from this are properly accounted for. In addition, the government has committed to establish a specialized unit within the National Revenue Authority to assist stemming revenue loss due to Transfer Pricing by multinational companies.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me conclude by commending all the key players and stakeholders in the extractive sector for living up to the expectation of honoring their tax obligations with the Government of Sierra Leone through the National Revenue Authority. Government is in a hurry to build Sierra Leone and to provide the much-needed social and infrastructural services for its people and therefore rely on revenues from the extractive sector.

We therefore use this opportunity to encourage all extractive industries to redouble their effort and improve their compliance with our tax system as Sierra Leone can only be a proud and be a donor independent nation if we are able to feed ourselves, generate our own resources domestically to cover the huge development cost that will enhance economic growth.

I thank you all for your attention

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