The National Minerals Agency (NMA) is a new, semi-autonomous government agency that was legally established with the passing of the National Minerals Agency Act in March 2012.
When established the NMA will have responsibility for administration and regulation of the minerals sector. The Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources will retain responsibility for policy making in this sector, but the NMA will take on responsibility for policy implementation. In this case, policy refers to minerals sector laws and regulations. The NMA will also work closely with other government agencies with responsibilities in the sector (such as the National Revenue Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency) to support them in implementing those policy areas for which they are responsible and impact upon the minerals sector.
In addition to the separation of policy making and policy implementation, the NMA will provide other advantages. It will be empowered to recruit a professional staff and reward them according to their performance. Recruitment for the agency will be open and competitive, which will enable it to build from the ground-up, with a strong set of values. The NMA will be overseen by a Board of Directors, which will help to remove it from day-to-day politics. However, the NMA still remains accountable to Parliament as it will need to explain its performance and have its budget appropriated in the same way as government ministries.
The NMA will be good for Sierra Leone. It will provide more fair and predictable implementation of laws and regulations, which will encourage investment in the minerals sector. Increased investment will directly contribute to economic growth as well as deliver revenue to the government to spend on activities that promote long-term economic development and poverty reduction.