Political stability has led to a revival of economic activity, including in the natural resource sector. The rise of mineral prices until 2011 resulted in a surge of new mining licenses and exploration. However, in recent years, falling commodity prices and low currency combined with the 2014 Ebola outbreak has had a considerable negative impact on mining operations and economic growth. Notwithstanding, the extractive sector remains the key driver of growth in these challenging times.
Prudent management of natural resources is a pillar of the national Agenda for Prosperity and there is strong commitment to align the EITI with these reforms. In 2012, Sierra Leone also launched an advanced online repository, making revenues generated from mining companies accessible to its citizens.
The Mines and Mineral Act (MMA, 2009) governs the mining sector, whilst the petroleum sector is governed by the Oil/Gas-Petroleum Exploration and Production Act (2011). The fiscal regimes for the extractive sectors are incorporated in the Income Tax Act (2000) (ITA) and its amendments, as well as the Finance Act (2017). The main fiscal tools in the mining sector are corporate income tax and mineral royalty. The main fiscal instruments in the upstream oil and gas sector are royalty and corporate income tax.
The government of Sierra Leone does not have a contract disclosure policy. Information on companies’ shareholding structures is now available in its on-line Mining Cadastre Administrative System (MCAS).However, both the Extractive Industries Revenue and SLEITI Bills have provisions and objectives which are intended to promote contract disclosure. The bills have not yet been passed into law.
The National Minerals Agency is the principal point of contact for the general public in all matters to do with mineral rights.The types of licenses issued include reconnaissance license, exploration license, small-scale mining license and large-scale mining license.
Sierra Leone has one of the best web-based cadastre systems in West Africa. The Mining Cadastre Administration System (MCAS) provides information on license holders, coordinates, application dates, and duration of licence in support of the NMA in the management of mineral rights. In addition to the MCAS, an online repository also provides information on (license) payments made during the year.
Objectives of beneficial ownership transparency in Sierra Leone
- Due diligence in licensing and preventing conflict of interest
- Preventing transfer mispricing
- Transparency in ownership of extractive assets and rights help by PEPs
- Prevent corruption and illicit financial flows to help maximise revenues from extractives
In 2017, SLEITI with support from Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) conducted a report that would review the legal framework, and prepare recommendations for Beneficial Ownership Disclosure reform.
Progress on implementing beneficial ownership disclosure
Sierra Leone is collecting beneficial ownership information from the 20 largest extractive taxpayers. In addition, steps are being taken to support and improving the due diligence procedures employed by the National Minerals Agency and the Petroleum Directorate in order to make these government agencies better informed in their dealings with prospective commercial partners, and better equipped to lead to the systematic collection and recording of beneficial ownership data.
Sierra Leone EITI plans to organize a series of technical workshops to review current legal and institutional framework for beneficial ownership and build the capacity of relevant stakeholders for the implementation of beneficial ownership. Read Sierra Leone's beneficial ownership roadmap below for more information.
Becoming EITI compliant is one of the ways of ensuring greater transparency and improved governance of the sector.We are proud to engage with the EITI process that requires reporting on revenue streams from the extractives sector. The tremendous efforts that have been made by everyone in the production of this [SLEITI] report reflect our shared aspirations for transparency and accountability of the extractives sector, economic growth in Sierra Leone and prosperity for all Sierra Leoneans.
Iron-ore production remains the key contributor to Sierra Leone‘s GDP growth. In 2015, 768,327 WMT was produced with a production value of just over 26 million USD. Gold is mostly mined artisanally and presently production comes from alluvial deposits. Diamond is also been mined mainly from alluvial deposits at the Bo, the Kenema, and the Kono districts. Diamond production decreased from 594 thousand carats in 2014 to 299 thousand carats in 2015. The 2015 report highights that activities in the mining sector slumped by 83.7 percent partly because of the decline in global iron ore prices and the closure of the domestic iron ore mining companies. Consequently,mineral exports dropped to 358,863,680.68 USD from 1,109,239,334.77 USD in 2014.
The upstream oil and gas activity is in the exploration phase occurring off shore and parceled into 14 blocks.
The 2015 report shows that Sierra Leone received just over USD 54 million in revenue from its extractive industry operations. 100% of these revenues came from the mining sector.The oil and gas sector was not active in the fiscal year 2015/2016. Revenues were mainly collected through mineral royalties and mining licences.
The National Revenue Authority (NRA) is mandated to collection all taxes on mining. In addition, other payments from the mining sector are made to local councils and Chiefdoms, where mining companies are based, to the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development. In the case of petroleum revenues, payments are made to the Petroleum Directorate (PD).
Funds paid to the NRA and the PD are subsequently transferred to the Consolidated Fund/Treasury, and thereby lose their identity in the National Budget. Moreover, the budget does not show expenditure by geographical locations but rather by line ministry, which means it is difficult to track where money is actually spent on host mining communities. However, specific contributions, such as surface rent by mining companies, are allocated to certain district councils and chiefdoms for social development.
The EITI encourages multi-stakeholder groups to explore innovative approaches to make the EITI more relevant and useful.
Through its Online Repository Sierra Leone has made revenues generated from mining companies accessible to its citizens. It contains all mining licenses and payments, published directly from the mining licensing system at the National Minerals Agency. This portal also includes data on licenses issued by the Forestry Department. It was launched in January 2012 and adopted by SLEITI in early 2014.
The Minerals Cadastre Administration System (MCAS) hosts fiscal information for all the large-scale mining companies. All fiscal terms in MCAS are copied directly from the companies’ Mining Lease Agreements. Information on companies’ shareholding structures is also available in MCAS.
- The communications team at SLEITI worked with a group of blind people to produce the ‘SLEITI Song’.
Sierra Leone published their 2015/2016 EITI Report in February 2018.
Sierra Leone achieved EITI Compliance under the old EITI Rules in 2014. The MSG has recently been focused on making a greater contribution to an informed debate about resource governance. An assessment of the activities to make the best use of the EITI Standard and an initial assessment of Beneficial Ownership have been conducted. Through its Online Repository, hosted by the Revenue Development Foundation, Sierra Leone has made revenues generated from mining companies accessible to its citizens.
In 2011, an MOU was signed between the Government of Sierra Leone, civil society, and the extractive industries to implement the EITI. These three form the Multi-Stakeholders Group and are responsible for developing policies in line with SLEITI's Mandate. The SLETI Secretariat is responsible for coordinating the day-to-day operations of the SLEITI and ensure that the decisions made by the MSG are implemented. The National Coordinator is Head of Secretariat and serves as Secretary to the MSG.
The Multi-Stakeholder Group is working towards the development of a SLEITI Policy and enactment of the SLEITI Bill which aims to remove legal barriers to implementation.
This report is the 2015 SLEITI report, which reconciled payments made by the extractive companies and revenues received by the government of Sierra Leone in 2015.The report also covers the mining/oil and gas sectors in Sierra Leone as well as registers of licences; exploration, production and exports; beneficial ownership; contract transparency; state participation in the extractive sector; revenue collection and allocation; social and economic spending; and the outcomes and impact of the EITI in Sierra Leone.
This is the Sierra Leone EITI 2016 Annual Progress Report (in accordance with Requirements 7.4. and 8.4.) The report assesses progress made by the country against the EITI requirements, and reviews the outcomes and impact of EITI implementation on natural resource governance.
This EITI Report covers Sierra Leone's extractive sector in 2014. It was published in December 2016.
This is the Sierra Leone EITI 2014 Annual Progress Report (in accordance with Requirements 7.4 and 8.4).
A powerpoint presentation on strengthening Beneficial Ownership Disclosure in the Extractive Sector in Sierra Leone (SLEITI).
This EITI Report covers Sierra Leone's extractive sector in 2013. It was published in February 2016.
This Sierra Leone EITI Validation report was published in December 2012.
Pablo is Regional Director at the EITI International Secretariat working with the Middle East and North Africa and Anglo/Lusophone West Africa.
Prior to joining the EITI he was Senior Advisor at the Council on Ethics for the Norwegian Government
Ines Schjolberg Marques
Ines Schjolberg Marques is part of the Anglophone and Lusophone Africa team focussing on Eastern and Southern Africa, and supports wider policy work at the EITI International Secretariat.