Sierra Leone Country Factsheet - MEMORANDUM by dfsdf224s


									 Information on Return and Reintegration in the Countries of Origin – IRRICO

                                   SIERRA LEONE


The return-related information contained in this document was collected with great care.
However, IOM gives no guarantee as to the accuracy, completeness or correctness of the
information, nor does it endorse any views, opinions or policies of organizations or
individuals referred to in this document. The depiction and use of boundaries, geographic
names and related data shown on maps included in the document are not warranted to be error
free, nor do they necessarily imply official acceptance by IOM. This document does not take
any position related to economic, political or security situation in the country. IOM accepts
no responsibility for any conclusions made or any results which are drawn from the
information provided in this document.
Health Care

Health Care System
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation is directly responsible for health care delivery in Sierra
Leone. The Director of Medical Services is the administrative head of the Ministry. The
District Health Management Team controls the provincial health care system.

The health sector is still in a difficult state and urgently requires additional resources as well
as new policies and structures. Services are limited in parts of the country. Access mainly
depends on whether patients can afford to pay. Many hospitals lack proper financial

The public health sector greatly lacks medical doctors to serve an estimated population of 5.3
millions. While Sierra Leone does not train enough doctors, the even bigger problem is
keeping them in the country. Of the doctors trained in the past, only a smaller percentage is
presently working in the country.

For many Sierra Leoneans, health care amounts to using traditional healing methods and to
buying basic drugs in pharmacies. Some pharmacies are registered and run by qualified
personnel. Others are simple stalls on the street manned by unlicensed briefcase pharmacists.

Access to safe drinking water is another problem.

Medical Infrastructure: Number and Equipment of Hospitals
There are only 7 physicians for every 100,000 Sierra Leoneans. But with the return of peace
and stability, government strengthened its efforts in restructuring the health care delivery.
Many hospitals have been renovated. Hospitals own ambulances and four wheels drive
vehicles that can facilitate easy transportation of both, patients and hospital staff.

The provision of health services varies significantly across the country. Private sector health
care barely exists outside the provincial capitals. The vast majority of health services are
concentrated in the western area. The same is true for pharmacies. Of the 8 public hospitals
providing tertiary health care, 5 are in the western area, the others are in the provincial
capitals Bo, Kenema and Makeni. Of the 15 public hospitals providing secondary health care,
6 are in the western area and one in every district headquarter town. The table below shows
the number of functioning public health units.

                          District (Provinces)       PHUs 2006
                          Bo (S)                     80
                          Kenema (E)                 87
                          Moyamba (S)                61
                          Pork Loko (N)              72
                          Bombali (N)                65
                          Kailahun (E)               58
                          Koinadugu (N)              40
                          Kono (E)                   70

Private hospitals owned by religious bodies are better equipped than the government
hospitals. Through the Italian government, a hospital has been constructed to take care of

patients in need of transplantation of body parts in Lunsar, northern Sierra Leone. The
operation rooms have been upgraded with recent equipments. Connaught hospital in Freetown
is presently under rehabilitation and there are expectations that modern equipments will be

Availability and Cost of Medicine
Private owned pharmacies sell drugs to the people at relatively high prices. There are also
briefcase pharmacists who sell without professional qualification.

The Government of Sierra Leone’s import duties, regulations and taxes increase the cost of
medical supplies and equipments in the private sector. Drugs and syringes are in principle
free of import duties, but items such as condoms and X-ray film are subject to custom taxes
the costs vary from town to town and are rather high.

As to the availability of specific drugs the cantonal return counsellors can contact IOM via
the RIF program.

Availability of Medical Care and Treatment
Specialized medical care and treatment for persons with mental disorder, trauma, critical
diseases and patients with transplanted organ is a problem and availability should be checked
in advance in each individual case.

       The “Magbesene” Catholic hospital in Lunsar northern Sierra Leone treats those with
       eye and leprosy sickness.

       The newly constructed “Lunsar” hospital, by the support of the Italian Government
       will take care of transplanting organs like limbs, legs etc.

       A number of international and local agencies offer trauma-healing support services;
       there is also such a centre of the Ministry of Social Welfare.

       The maternity hospitals are gradually improving.

        Patients with mental problems can receive help at the “Kissy mental home” where
       they receive treatment by psychiatrists in charge.

       The “Lakka” hospital is providing treatment for tuberculosis.

Health Insurance – National Insurance Company
Insurance premiums are paid to the National Insurance Company. People who work for an
employer have their premiums deducted directly from their salary at the same time as other
taxes. The unemployed and self-employed must make special arrangements with the
Insurance Company. Those who receive National insurance pension’s payments usually pay a
standard, minimal health insurance fee, which is deducted from the pension. The returning
persons falls initially within the category of the un-employed. The do need a special
arrangement with the insurance company. The contact person is the Managing Director,
National insurance company at 18/20 Walpole street, Freetown and on telephone number
+232 22 225433.

Required Personal Documentation to benefit of national health insurance: a registration form
is bought at the cost of Le. 3682 (approx. USD 1.24), a certificate of employment, passport or
identity cards.

The National insurance company limited is a governmental owned company which is been
managed by a Managing Director, It is presently situated at 18.20 Walpole street, Freetown

Possibilities to treat HIV/AIDS-patients in Sierra Leone
There is a group of private medical practitioners who provide free treatment to HIV+
patients under the National Aids Secretariat sponsored project. The group led   by          Dr.
Willoughby is called SILTAG. Other doctors include Dr. Anthony Williams         and         Dr.
Olabisi Claudius Cole. Those who arrive with an infection record can be referred to         the
abovementioned institution.

       Medicaments Availability
       HIV/AIDS Anti-Retroviral-Drugs are available free of charge, provided by National
       AIDS Secretariat (NAS) under the Sierra Leone HIV/AIDS Response Project
       (SHARP) project. Drugs for the opportunistic infections and the attendant laboratory
       tests for those on Anti-retroviral -drugs are not free (cost to be discussed based on the

       Specific institutions, NGO’s etc.
       There are several NGOs working in this area providing counseling services,
       palliative care and home based care, e.g.
       Shepherd's Hospice, Gabriel Madiye
       Allen Town
       +232 22 263695 (land) and +232 76 620 441 (mobile)

       There are several Voluntary Confidential Counseling and Training (VCCT) sites run
       by the Government:
       Conncil of Churches Sierra Leone Compound (CCSL)
       Kingharman Road
       National Aids Secretariat (NAS)
       Tel.: +232 22 241 943, +232 76 602 540


Housing and Rental cost
Housing space is difficult to get in Freetown but easy in the provinces. The cost depends on
the size and geographical location. The minimum amount requested for a piece of land for
construction purposes, is normally Le. 4,000,000 (USD 1,351.00) in Freetown and in some
parts of the provinces the maximum could be for a piece of land Le. 1,500,000 (USD 507.00).


                     Eastern Freetown         Western and           Cost outside Freetown
                                              Central Areas         (Bo)
 4 bedrooms house Le 1,500,000 –              Le. 4,500,000 –       Le 800,000 – 1,000,000
 (yearly rent)    2,500,000                   Le. 6,000,000         (USD 270.00 – USD
                  (USD 507.00 – USD           (USD 1,520.00 -       338.00)
                  845.00)                     2,027.00)

       Construction Companies:
       The” GREAT PYRAMID and SPHINX” Construction Company offers the
       construction of 3-bed room apartments including living room, dining room and
       kitchen. The cost for rent is Le 5,200,000.00 (USD 1,757.00). These buildings are
       situated in the west and alongside the Atlantic Ocean.

       Lease - Finance Apartment Project:
       The Lease-Finance Apartment Project of the Sierra Leone Housing Cooperation
       (SALHOC) aims at providing affordable accommodation for Sierra Leoneans at
       home for a 5 years ownership leases of 2-bed room apartments.

Reconstruction Assistance
International and non-governmental Organizations have complemented government efforts:
Between 2001 and 2007, construction and building materials like nails and cement were
distributed to IDP communities, returnees and other community members in need. However,
with the scaling down of donor funding and support, this assistance is being reduced.
There are no public Subsidies for rental of housing.

The Sierra Leone Housing Cooperation (SALHOC) Lease-Finance Apartment Project aim at
providing affordable accommodation for Sierra Leoneans at home for a five years ownership
leases of 2-bed room apartment.


Education Statistics
1.7% of the GDP is used towards primary education. 88% of educational infrastructure has
been destroyed during the war. Half of the nation's children who attend school do so at levels
below their age. There are 156 males for every 100 females attending school. The enrolment
rate is approx. 27% only. The nationwide literacy rate is 31.4%.

Educational System and Infrastructure
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology controls the educational system in Sierra
Leone. The private institutions work closely with the government and other stakeholders.
Until recently, the educational system was in shambles and it is slowly recovering now.

       School system:
       - 6 years in the primary school, 3 years in the junior secondary school, 3 years in the
          senior secondary school and finally 4 years in tertiary institutions, either university
          or polytechnics.

       -   At the end of 6 years in the primary school, a National Examination is set (NPSE),
           the successful candidates then proceeds to junior secondary school. After the 3
           following years again, which is the end of basic education, the Basic Education
           Certificate of Education is conducted. Those who succeed can continue to senior
           secondary school.
       -   After three years of senior secondary school education, the WAEC (West Africa
           Examination Certificate) is conducted for the successful candidates. Those who
           pass can go to universities and colleges.

       The University of Sierra Leone comprises the following higher learning
       institutions as constituent colleges:
       - Fourah Bay College (FBC) provides education in pure and applied sciences with
           special emphasis on professional career development in Engineering, Technology,
           Law, Arts and Behavioural Sciences.
       - Njala University College offers Sciences, Agriculture, Environmental Sciences
           and Education.
       - The Institute of Public Administration and Management upgraded to degree level
           provides training for the civil service.
       - Milton Margai College of Education, Science and Technology train teachers up to
           bachelors’ level. It has features institutes, for example the Technical Institute at
           Congo Cross and Hotel and Tourism Training Institute at Brookfield’s. The
           college itself is based at Goodrich. There are also other teacher training colleges in
           Makeni, Portloko, Bo and Bunumbu in the Kailahun district.
       - College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences.
       - The Institution of Library, Archives and Information.

Conditions for the Continuation of Education for Returnees
      At the elementary level, the child should be above three years.
      In the primary schools, the child should be above five years. In the secondary schools,
      the child must have sat to the NPSE or equivalent certificate accepted internationally.
      For the universities, the student must pass the WAEC examination and should obtain
      five subjects with credits or certificate from an internationally recognized examination

The individual institutions in line with the government education policies verify the foreign
In order to be eligible for admission, the child should submit a copy of the last result from the
previous institution. This would be verified by the admission board. School terms start in
September and colleges and Universities start in October of every year.

Cost, Loans and Stipends.
       The primary education is free from tuition fees though the parents have to buy
       necessary learning materials like uniforms, books pens, pencil, etc. This can amount
       Le. 150’000 (USD 51.00) a year. This cost varies from school to school and
       depending on the extent of materials needed.
       The costs for private schools are relatively high. Some schools charge amount to Le.
       600’000 (USD 203.00) inclusive for a term.

For basic education, no loans are provided in Sierra Leone. But for higher institutions, the
government provides grants to students that merit it by way of passing a college first year
examination and going through the interview panel set by the college. Stipends can also be
given. The amount is presently is Le. 50’000 (USD 17.00) each term.

Some private institutions provide scholarships for students in most of the colleges and
schools. There are scholarships given by the Catholic mission, the Lebanese Community in
Sierra Leone and by other charitable organizations.

Economic situation and Employment

Economic Overview
Sierra Leone is a very poor nation with obvious inequality in income distribution. It
nevertheless has substantial mineral, agricultural, and fishery resources. However, the
economic and social infrastructure is not yet well developed and social problems continue to
hamper economic development, following the 11-year civil war.
About two-thirds of the working-age population engages in subsistence agriculture.
Manufacturing consists mainly of the processing of raw materials and of light manufacturing
for the domestic market. There are plans to reopen bauxite mines, which were shut down
during the conflict. The major source of hard currency consists of the mining of diamonds.
The fate of the economy depends mainly on the maintenance of domestic peace and also the
continued receipt of substantial aid from abroad, which is essential to offset the severe trade
imbalance and to supplement government revenues.

       Agricultural products:
       Rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs, fish.
       Industries-mining (diamonds); small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles,
       cigarettes, footwear); petroleum refining.
       GDP Real growth: 6.5% (2004 est.).

Labour Market Situation
Ten years of civil war affected the economical situation of the country and unemployment is
today one of the major challenges. During the past years, UN agencies and other international
agencies have helped to establish micro enterprises through skills training for a large number
of IDPs and ex-combatants. This to a large extend has helped to create direct self-
employment for sustainable development.

The agricultural sector employs 65% of the labour force. Productive potential is limited by
land tenure system; land is mostly in the hands of small holders engaged in subsistence

The mining sector employs approx. 10% of the workforce.
The indicative minimum monthly salary of government workers is Le. 152,000.00 (USD 50).
For professionals and middle level managers/managers would earn Le. 500,000.00 (USD 170)
and above. The highest salaries are the private sector, non governmental / international
organisations, UN and Diplomatic offices.

Employment facilities for Returnees in Sierra Leone

A placement service is under the direct responsibility of the Ministry of Labour, Social
Security and Employment1. All government advertisement and vacancies go in principle
through this ministry.

For the wider private sector, it is the responsibility of the individual company and the job
seeker himself to find an employee, respectively an employer. In general, the job market is
still very difficult in Sierra Leone. The government of Sierra Leone is encouraging private
sector investment and revitalization of the agricultural sector in order to create employment.
With the assistance of the World Bank, the country has prepared a Poverty Reduction Plan, to
be presented to the international donor community. A promising way for generating income is
self-employment, such as the establishment of sustainable income generating micro-

In the professional sectors including education, there is a critical shortage of skilled persons.

Unemployment Assistance:
The ten years civil conflict affected the economic activity. Despite government attempts to
maintain the fiscal regime, the country is reliant on loans and aid from donors such as the
World Bank or IMF. The authorities are presently unable to render unemployment assistance.
Persons without the needed financial means in fact mainly rely on their families, communities
and/or charity organisations.

Educational Possibilities
One of the most important contributions to peace and recovery in Sierra Leone is the
diversification of educational facilities and the strengthening of basic education for all. For
instance, in 2002, the National Committee for Disarmament, Demobilization and
Reintegration (NCDDR)2 placed 6452 formal fighters in schools. It has provided sponsorship
of school fees, text books, uniforms and subsistence allowances for a year. Some have
undertaken professional qualifications in Computer Studies, Accounting and Management.

Specialist courses are offered in Sierra Leonean institutions in order to meet the growing
needs of specialized workers in Law, Information Technology, Medicine, etc. The
government has also established technical and vocational institutions that will train
individuals in all areas of urgent need, especially the agricultural, industrial and commercial

Vocational Training
The end of war saw a great need in the vocational and technical training in all areas,
especially the agricultural sector. Government established a national council for technical and
vocational education that oversees Technical and Vocational Centres and Institutions. The
goal is to fill the gaps by substantially increasing the number of skilled lower middle level
workers. It should also help to provide a more literate, numerate and enterprising lower
middle level technical/vocational workforce and thus speed up national development. UN
agencies and other international agencies implement vocational skills training projects to
develop self-reliance as well as the progressive development of society and the economy.

  Ministry of Labour & Industrial Relations & Social Security, New England, Freetown, Sierra Leone
  Tel: (232) 22 241947/240885/240041/241930, Fax: (232) 22
  More information on www.

Procedures to Start Self-Employment
To start self–employment in Sierra Leone one needs officially to register with the Ministry of
Labour and Industrial Relations and then request a social security form in-order to secure a
business registration card. This would cost on the whole approximately Le. 600,000.00 (USD
200.00) If it is a private trade entity, the person should register with the Ministry of Trade and
Industry3 and obtain a certificate of trade.

The National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT)4 is a Statutory Public Trust
charged with the administration of Sierra Leone’s National Pension Scheme. The primary
responsibility is covering loss of income as a result of old age, invalidity and death. The trust
came into being by the National Social Security and Insurance Trust Act No. 5 of 20015.
Preconditions for Obtaining a Pension
To qualify for a full pension, one must be at least 60 years old, which is the national
retirement age, and one must have made a minimum contribution of 180 months in aggregate
(15 years). Employees are required to contribute 5 % of their basic pay to NASSIT on a
monthly basis. Through this, a person can earn pension rights of between 30% and 80%
depending on the number of months contributed or credited at the time of retirement; every
additional year attracts an additional 2% per month.
Cost of Pension Insurance
Every employer is in principle obliged to pay to NASSIT for each month in respect of each
worker in his or her establishment, an employer’s contribution of an amount equal to 10% of
the worker’s earning for the month within 15 days after the end of each month. Law obliges
employers to deduct 5% of the workers earning each month and a self-employed person pays
15% of his or her income for within 15 days after the end of the month.
Required Personal Documentation
To register, one must complete the employer registration form and submit to NASSIT. For
employers who are trading in their own names or who have domestic workers only,
registration must be done under the name shown in their passport. The employer will get an
employer reference number (employer reg. number and a payment advice form-form SS4A).

Banking system and business set-up opportunities

The Bank of Sierra Leone
Prior to the establishment of the Bank of Sierra Leone, the West Africa Currency Board was
responsible for the issue of currency in Sierra Leone. It was obliged to buy and sell the
currency it had issued, the West African Pound, at fixed rates against the Sterling in London.

The aims of the National Bank of Sierra Leone are listed in the Bank of Sierra Leone Act

  Ministry of Trade & Industry, Ministerial Building, George Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone
  Tel.: (232) 22 222755/227985/222640/Fax: (232) 22
4 , contacts see Annex 1
  As required by section 1, Act No 5 of 2001 came into operation by Presidential Order in Statutory Instrument
No 8 of 2001 on 31 August 2001.

Names of other Commercial Banks
Bank of Sierra Leone
Siaka Stevens Street
Tel:- (+232 22) 226501
Fax:- (+232 22) 224764
Telex:- 3232 COPSE SL FAX

Rokel Commercial Bank
Siaka Stevens Street.,
Tel:- 232 22 222501,
Fax:-232 22 222563 fax,

Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Limited
Christian Smith Building
29/31 Siaka Stevens Street
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Tel:- 232-22- 225264/5
Fax:- 232-22-225292

Lightfoot Boston Street.,
Sierra Leone
Tel:- 232 22 225022,
Fax:- 232 22 227329

Guarantee Trust Bank
12 Wilberforece Street,
Tel:- 232-22-228493
Fax:- 232-22-228318
Swift Address: GTBISLFR
Email: gtbsl@sierratel.s

Union Trust Bank
Lightfoot Boston Street, PMB 1237
Tel:- 232-22-226954, 222792, 223319
Fax:- 232-22-226214
Swift Address: UTBSSLFR

There are monetary transfer transactions which takes place in almost all of the banks listed
above from abroad and credit facilities are also available to credit worthy business persons or
customers of the banks. The basic criteria under which credits are made available to
individuals is that one should be an account holder of the bank for not less that six months
and then you should have a guarantor and or a colateral in a form of a house, land, car
depending on the extent of the loan.


Public Transport
Public transportation had experienced great difficulties in the past (wrong policies and the
war, which brought destruction of government and private vehicles). Public transportation
services are today provided by both, government and private companies/individuals.

Buses and taxis are the major forms of public transportation in the city as well as the
provinces. Heavy-duty trucks also ply the roads with goods to the provincial towns and
villages. There are government buses assigned to all the provincial capitals with reduced cost
compared to private buses. There is a daily bus service to Guinea. The fares vary from one
location to the other. Within the country, the farthest point from the capital is Kono, which
cost approx. Le. 40’000 (which is USD 14.00) per person. The taxi fare is presently Le 800
(USD 0.19) for a short trip. Knowing the significance of providing affordable and reliable
transportation, the government commissioned on November 3rd, 2003 17 new Iranian-
manufactured Mercedes Benz buses procured through the Islamic Development Bank loan.

There remain however poor urban road conditions. Most main roads in the capital Freetown
are paved but have few potholes. Unpaved side streets are generally navigable. There is a
major road resurfacing and repair programme ongoing.

Most roads outside Freetown are unpaved and most are passable with a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
However, certain stretches of mapped roads can be impassable during the rainy season. Boats
also transport people and goods across the sea or rivers. The Ferry Service also transports
passengers across the sea to Tagrin which is about 15km to Lungi International airport. The
cost per person is Le 5,000 (approx. USD 2.00) and the helicopter service to Lungi
International airport which is another option to the hovercraft also cost Le. 150,000 (USD

   -   Highways total: 11,330 km paved: 895 km unpaved: 10,435 km (1999)
   -   Waterways total: 800 km.
   -   Ports and Harbours: Bonthe, Freetown, Pepel
   -   Airports and aerodromes: 10 (estimated).


2.4. Communication Network, Media
The Ministry of Transport and Communication regulates the communication. The Sierra
Leone Telecommunication Company (SIERRATEL) is the sole supplier of landline
telecommunications services. The country still has a very limited telephone network, although
some modern equipment, including an ISDN capable central switch is now available. TIGO,
Celtel, Africell, Comium and Datatel (privately owned mobile phone companies) have
extended their connection lines to some parts of the country through the use of GSM mobile

Local calls cost Le 1500/minute (approx. USD 0.50). International calls cost Le 6.000/minute
(approx. USD 1.9).

The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) and UNAMSIL (United Nations Integrated
Office Sierra Leone) radio stations serve as major agents for information dissemination
throughout the country. There are also private stations in Freetown, the capital city and in the
district head quarter towns of Bo, Kenema, Makeni, Moyamba, Kailahun and Mile-91 (a busy
central market town in the Northern Province). The SLBS also manages the national
television service, which are the SLBS TV and a newly installed private TV station ABC.

Sierra Leone also has a number of local newspapers that report on the day-to-day happenings
all over the country. They are sold at around Le 500 (approx. USD 0.15) per copy. The
Institute of Library, Archives, and Information Studies at the University of Sierra Leone
provides technical training and support to those wishing to specialize in the area of

Telephone system:
   - General assessment: still marginal telephone and telegraph service
   - International country code: +232.

       For more information on return and reintegration possibilities on Sierra Leone,
       Please consult the IOM office in your country and/or visit


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