The Sierra Leone Web


AT 11:00 A.M.


I am sure that many of us here today are aware of the massive toll of destruction of human lives, properties - both private and public-experienced not so long ago and indeed, the turbulence that attended the economic, political and social endeavours of our country. Also, most of us remained apprehensive of the sequel to those events that indeed precipitated insecurity, mass exodus of our dear compatriots and the lack of confidence by our international partners in development.

We can recall that over 40 years ago when our planners identified and mapped out suitable areas in the Wellington environs for industrial development, the Sierra Leone Brewery Limited was one of the earliest industries that was sited in one of those areas. That was the birth of a testimony of success after success in the Brewing and Marketing of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in our country.

This momentum was maintained throughout the years up to 1997 and 1999 when this nation was subjected to destruction of unimaginable proportions, and Sierra Leone Brewery was no exception.

When we were discussing the formation of the West African Free Trade Area (WAFTA) which is today the Mano River Union (MRU), a deliberate decision was taken to locate a brewery in Freetown and other primary industries, for example, the first stage of processing of iron ore in Liberia. This was one of the pet projects of the late Dr Bright who was at that time the Executive Secretary of the Union. This brilliant idea and others like it never materialized partly because of conflict and instability in the sub-region. I will venture to suggest therefore that in light of the present moves to reactivate the Mano River Union those who planned the development of this particular industry will have in mind the possibility of future expansion of this brewery to meet the original dreams.

And today, we are all here seeing the fruits of foresight, faith, commitment and strategic planning in this magnificent job of improving the production facilities of one of the foremost companies in our beloved Sierra Leone.

For this reason, I am very pleased to register my sincere thanks and appreciation to the foreign shareholders - Heineken International, Guinness Overseas Limited, Paterson Zochonis - and local shareholders alike, the Management and Staff of the Sierra Leone Brewery Limited for a job well done within such a tight time frame, in the face of severe constraints.

I am pleased to note that the support that was provided by government facilitated in some way the acquisition of this ultra modern bottling line which will enormously enhance production facilities and capabilities. This development is a concrete manifestation of our avowed commitment to the creation of conducive conditions in which the private sector will flourish. Therefore, we view the investment in this new bottling line project, estimated at Euro 8m (Eight Million Euro) or Le26.6 billion, as a welcome response by the shareholders of the Brewery to the range of incentives that government is providing.

Clearly this investment represents an eloquent expression of confidence in the investment climate in Sierra Leone and we hope that this will attract other investors, particularly, overseas investors, to Sierra Leone.

My Government fully appreciates the significance of this development in terms of the job opportunities it offers and the improvement in the prospects for the development of our country.

I wish to extend my best wishes to all the stakeholders of Sierra Leone Brewery Limited for the continuous growth of this business, thereby generating a more than average return on their investment.

I thank you all and may God bless us all and bless our dear country.