Politics

Commerce Ministry launches Business Hub

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOC) in collaboration with the Swedish National Board of Trade and World Bank Group launch a service sector website here recently to provide e-government solution to the business community and the public at large.


Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh says the LIB Business Hub will not only provide business information but other vital information arising from other institutions, including banking services.

Minister Tarpeh says the website is the first contact for persons doing business and those interesting in doing business in other areas of the economy without encountering any hindrance.

He calls on the business community to make maximum use of the website, as a main source for first hand information about the business climate here, adding that the website gives all necessary data to the public which is the first of its kind in the country.

Earlier, World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Advisor Mattias Karison Jernbacker, says under the “starting “menu people will find all information they need to do business in Liberia.

He notes that by registering as a member of the hub, interested individuals and businesses will be able to take advantage of additional services such as subscribing to news and announcements or receiving alerts every time about something that interests businesses.

In September 2015, the World Bank Group (WBG) conducted a study to publish the latest version of Diagnostic Trade Integration (DTIS) for Liberia aimed at identifying ways of leveraging trade to achieve sustainable growth and poverty reduction.

The World Bank also identified that the main governance limitations relate to lack of access to clear regulatory guidelines, which reduces transparency and hampers the business environment of Liberia.

Consequently, however, the World Bank Group among other things recommended; the establishment of a website with all laws and regulation relevant to the service sector website.

In December 2015, it formed part of the Liberian Post Accession Implementation Plan (LPAP) and Executive Order Number 74 which declares that Liberia shall establish a Services Portal for all business regulations and license processing.


Furthermore, in October 2016, the work started on the Service Portal Website with assistance from the Swedish National Board of Trade (NBT) and the World Bank Group which in February 2018 saw the Beta Version of the website ready.


Accordingly, the website shall serve as a One Stop Shop that is intended to make it easier for anyone who wants to do business in Liberia; provide the central information that anyone needs for starting, growing and closing down a business, and paying taxes, licensing and business registration, respectively, among other services.

By Emmanuel Mondaye--Editing by Jonathan Browne

Stop shifting blames

Former Information Minister Rev. Dr. Lawrence Bropleh is cautioning surrogates of President George Manneh Weah’s government to stop blaming others for the current economic woes here, suggesting the need to keep the conversation around taking Liberia beyond where it is.


“Stop blaming, it doesn’t help us to say who brought us to where we are,” Dr. Bropleh said Monday, 9 July on a local radio talk show.Dr. Bropleh’s comment comes at a time supporters of the Weah administration including House Speaker and member of ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Bhofal Chambers continue to find fault on the past administration of former President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf for today’s persistent economic woes.

Dr. Bropleh recalls that President Weah’s current Finance Minister Samuel Tweah was a member of the economic team in the Sirleaf government, before further throwing questions if President Weah too didn’t also work as Senator in the Sirleaf government and vote for the printing of banknotes.

The Former Information Minister says he does not fancy the blaming context, noting that “Ma Gorpu” in Garmue of Central Bong County doesn’t care how “we got to where we are,” but she is concerned about how she and her family can survive.

In further discouraging the blame shifting by supporters and officials of the Weah government, Dr. Bropleh reminds surrogates of the ruling establishment how former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s statement came back and hunted him during the past election when he said he didn’t have any power to do much, but he was a racecar parked in a garage.

Dr. Bropleh says not President Weah himself, but his supporters say the president is not responsible for the economic situations here and he has nothing do with them.

“Well, wasn’t President Weah in the Legislature? What part did he have to play? Who voted for the … reprinting of banknotes, etc, etc? We should not get into the habit of shifting responsibilities when it comes to governance,” Dr. Bropleh cautions.

He applauds the Senate’s decision to hold closed door conversation with some of the brightest minds here in terms of the economics of the country, saying he thinks it’s good.

“So I will caution the surrogates in and outside of government to shy away from shifting blames, looking backward,” he says and urges that they learn from the past, understand the present and engage the future.

Dr. Bropleh suggests that if there were mistakes along the way, they should not be repetitive, but there should be a shift of “digging ourselves out of where we find ourselves.”

The debate on Liberia’s worsening economic situation is intensifying here on a daily basis, with President Weah and his predecessor Mrs. Sirleaf having provided differing accounts on the nation’s reserve at the Central Bank.

At the start of the debate following Mr. Weah’s inauguration this year, he complained that he inherited a broke economy, but Mrs. Sirleaf disputed Mr. Weah’s account and said she left about US$150 million in the national reserve.

She instead urged the Weah administration to check the figures correctly. But matters continue to get worse daily with a sharp rise of the US Dollars against the Liberian Dollar, hitting as far as US$1.00 to LRD$160.00.

The Weah government is yet to claim control of prices of goods, with transportation fare charged without any regulation. The situation is compounded by a repeated discovery of alleged counterfeit Liberian Dollars being dumped on the market by others including Nigerians who in return take away the few US Dollars through exchange of high rates.

Meanwhile, Montserrado County Electoral District #17 Representative Henson Kiazolu says Speaker Bhofal Chambers “speaks out of limitation” when he blames former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the current poor state of the economy.

Speaking on a local radio station in Monrovia, on Monday, July 09, Representative Kiazolu says the speaker’s utterance is based on his limited knowledge about the economy, urging him to improve his understanding of economic issues rather than shifting blames on former President Sirleaf.

Last weekend, Speaker Chambers accused the former President for the current economic hardship the country is faced with.According to him, former President Sirleaf in the climaxing days of her presidency created “an economic gulag”, referencing a Soviet-style economic and militarily fashioned scenario that compels compliance on economic activities.

But Representative Kiazolu, who teaches Economics and Accounting at the University of Liberia, says it makes no sense for a senior official of government such as the Speaker to shift blames while the Liberian people continue to bear hash condition of the high cost of living.

He explains that former President Sirleaf has played her part and gone, so now is the time for forward match, adding that financial issues are hard terrain for Speaker Chambers.

Chambers in his barrage of criticisms proposes that Liberia should withdraw its currency from circulation and adopt only the United States dollars as legal tender note. But Representative Kiazolu counters it is a wrong suggestion that could further make the economy very terrible.

Chambers stresses the country should move towards a single currency regime, blaming the use of both Liberian dollar and United States Dollar as cause for “disastrous growth levels and stubbornly high and bad economy.”

Representative Kiazolu explains that Liberia does not have authority over the U.S. currency and the Government of Liberia cannot dictate how it should be sent here, when there should be reprinting, adopting such policy could drag the country into serious national security problem.

On Chambers being a strong critic of the past administration, Kiazolu notes that the CDC lawmaker had never been a critic of the regime instead, the former President.

An executive member of the former ruling Unity Party, Representative Kiazolu recommends that the George Weah-led administration should establish an ‘economic think tank’ to study the current status of the country’s economy for a better reform engagement in six months.

By Winston W. Parley & E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor--Editing by Jonathan Browne & Othello B. Garblah

Senate summons Governor Charles Sirleaf

The plenary of the Liberian Senate summons the Acting Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Mr. Charles Sirleaf to state why he should not be held in contempt.


Last week, the Senate invited Acting Governor Sirleaf, officials of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and authorities of the Liberia Revenue Authority to give reasons for the high cost of living in the country.

On Monday, 9 July senators had gathered in plenary for a special session when it was announced through a communication under the signature of Mr. Sirleaf that he (Sirleaf) couldn’t show up for the session on grounds that there is new nomination for his post and any time said nominee if confirmed by the Senate will take over.

Mr. Sirleaf, who serves as deputy governor under former ex-Executive Governors Weeks and Jones for many years argues that he is not the rightful official to give detail information on the current inflation and uncontrollable skyrocketing of the exchange rate between the Liberian dollar and the United States Dollar.
The exchange rate currently fluctuates between 158 and 159LRD to US$1.00.

Following several minutes of consultations among senators and Senate Pro- Tempore Albert Chie, Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Cllr. Varney Sherman made a motion that acting Executive Governor Sirleaf be compelled to appear before that august body to show cause why he should be held in contempt.

However, Finance and Development Planning Minister was represented by Deputy Minister Samora Wolokollie and the LRA was represented by Deputy Commissioner Decontee King Sackie, including the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Wilson Tarpeh.

Article 44 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution states: Contempt of the Legislature shall consist of actions which obstruct the legislative functions or which obstruct or impede members or officers of the Legislature in the discharge of their legislative duties and may be punished by the House concerned by reasonable sanctions after a hearing consistent with due process of law. No sanctions shall extend beyond the session of the Legislature wherein it is imposed, and any sanction imposed shall conform to the provisions on Fundamental Rights laid down in the Constitution. Disputes between legislators and non-members which are properly cognizable in the courts shall not be entertained or heard in the Legislature.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne

UP is a dead body

Rowdy-talking Sinoe County Electoral District# 2 Representative Jaye Nagbe Sloh brands the former ruling Unity Party as a “dead body”, saying the people of Liberia have decided and the writings on the wall are clear.


“I was a strong supporter of the Unity Party, including Joseph N. Boakai with my sweat, money, and blood; I really don’t know better than the Liberian people; the writing is clear, pretty soon I’m joining the CDC”, the UP partisan discloses.

He made the disclosure over the weekend in the Mark J. Richards School auditorium, when citizens of district#2 residing in Montserrado County, particularly from Gleapoh, Siblela, and Siworcan organized a thanksgiving program in his honor on Bushrod Island.

“We all know the history of political parties that took state power; they don’t come back”, he says and names few parties, including the True Whig Party, NDC, NPP, and the Unity Party, adding that they aren’t going to come back.

Rep. Sloh: The Country Giant has called, and the black snake will follow; it is against this backdrop that I’m leaving the UP.”According to him, he’s taking along 17 other lawmakers who believe in his ideology to join the CDC, saying “We’re all going to join the country giant, they say CDC has limitations, but one cannot create change from outside; ours going to CDC is to fill the gap wherever possible.”

“George Weah is from the southeast; he speaks Kru more than anything; if my brother will call me, who am I to refuse? I will follow, and to you my followers, get prepared because you all will be unified and that will be the importance of the crossover.”

Representative Sloh says President Weah has asked him to join the CDC, and he consented, “but the delay I told him is going to be himself that will give me the party membership card and T-shirt at a well attended program by my people and these are things the protocol people are working on; this is what is causing the delay.”

Sloh continues that he’s not a small potato that one can catch behind the house, adding that his arrival in the ruling CDC will not be done under cover of darkness.
“I will provide reason to my people why I have decided to leave the dead body and go to the living body, I want to thank the organizers of this program, including the people that voted me - the Gleapo, Siblela and Siworcan people in Sinoe, we will not fail you.”

He says the journey has just started and calls on citizens of the three towns to work together to ensure that they get the development they need, “I got three more steps ahead of me and I will depend on the support to get me to where I want to reach.”

The trust and confidence reposed in me by electing me as your Representative, I will do it well, so by the next time when I’m asking for the next position you will have no cause but to vote me.”

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

LACC Boss out of order

Montserrado County Electoral District #8 Rep. Acarous Moses Gray says Liberia Anti - Corruption Commission (LACC) Chair Cllr. James Verdier’s statement that no member of the Legislature has ever declared their assets to the commission is “totally out of order” and needs to be revisited.


Rep. Gray told a press conference in Monrovia Friday, 6 July that Chairman verdier recently said the refusal of government officials to declare their assets was a violation of the Code of Conduct.

He recalls that Cllr. Verdier complained that since the inception of the Weah-Taylor administration, the LACC does not have a considerable number of public officials who have declared their assets.

Section 10.1 of the National Code of Conduct mandates every public official or employee involved in making decisions affecting contracting; tendering or procurement and issuance of licenses of various types to sign performance or financial bonds.

It says they shall in addition, declare their income, assets and liabilities prior to taking office and thereafter. Cllr. Verdier further said the country’s asset declaration laws are not strong enough because the failure to declare asset is not criminalized.

According to him, the mandate to enforce the Code of Conduct is in the purview of heads of the various branches of government, and not the LACC. He says the reported gross refusal to declare their respective assets is in violation of the Code of Conduct and the acct that creates the LACC.

But Rep. Gray maintains that members of the Liberian Senate cannot declare their assets to the Commission. Instead, he says members of the House of Representatives declare their assets to the Chief Clark, Madam Mildred Sayon while members of the Liberian Senate declare theirs to the Secretary of the Senate Mr. Nanbolor Singbe, respectively.

Rep. Gray also argues that the officials of the Executive Branch of Government by law declare their assets to the General Auditing Commission.He notes that if the LACC needs information about officials, the Commission should follow the channel.

“We members of the Legislature cannot go declaring our assets to the LACC instead the Chief Clark or the Secretary of the Senate. He does not understand what he’s talking. Apparently, he’s not familiar with the Act that established the LACC,” Rep. Gray argues.

He says he was very engaged with the passage of the bill and they made the addition and subtraction to the bill that today, is called the Act of the LACC.

Commenting on calls for President George Manneh Weah to comply with the asset declaration clause of the Code of Conduct, Rep. Gray says there are many opposition leaders in government that have failed to declare their assets including the Chairman emeritus of the former ruling Unity Party, Sen. Varney Sherman.

Rep. Gray further names the wife of Sen. Sherman, Madam Joyce Sherman, Unity Party Spokesman Mo Ali, the National Secretary of opposition Liberty Party Gabriel Smith, a consultant of Internal Affairs Ministry, and Mr. Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress who served as the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Booker Washington Institute, among others.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Police arrest man for poisoning food

A 52-year-old resident of New Pleebo community in Pleebo Sodoken Statutory District, Maryland County is in Police custody for allegedly giving rat poison to his son to put in the food of a man he claims convinced his wife Sarah Toe, to leave his home.


Speaking to this paper in Police detention in Pleebo, suspect Daniel Toe admitted to committing the act as he had similarly confessed during Police investigation, but said it was not deliberate.

“I never think on this but this man beat me before for my own wife and took her from my home, my heart is hurting so I wanted to hurt him too but unfortunately, my wife and son ate the rat poison and thank God nothing bad happened to them so let the government please see reason to free me”, Mr. Toe pleads.

The New Dawn gathers from community residents, including Daniel Toe himself that his wife Sarah, who has bore him seven children, left the house for the past one month to go live with the guy who fought him.

This is the second time in less than three months that a husband is involved in such dangerous act, directly affecting his wife in Pleebo City. Napoleon Williams, a resident of Zone Four in Pleebo allegedly assaulted his wife, Theresa Williams, resulting to her immediate death on May 8, 2018 between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Speaking to this paper in her sick bed, Sarah Toe narrates that upon eating the poisoned food, she felt weak with excruciating pain in her stomach thereby, passing watery stood and gradually losing her sight for about 10 minutes.

“I was rushed to the hospital by my neighbors before my son told his aunt that his father gave him something to put in my food to eat for me to go back home. That man wanted to kill me, but God was on my side”, she laments.

Meanwhile, Police has charged suspect Dennis Toe for murder and sent him to the Pleebo Magisterial Court. He is presently detained at the Harper Central Prison, awaiting court trial.

Madam Sarah Toe, 42, says claim by her husband Mr. Daniel Toe that she left home for another relationship is far from the truth, noting the information is meant to tarnish her hard earned reputation.

She explains Mr. Toe’s behavior of always accusing her of being in extra relationship led her to leave the house, adding his behavior prompted a man in the community whose name she did not name, to fight him.

“Big Daddy”, the son who placed the rat poison in the food, says he consented to put the poison in his mother food because his father, Mr. Toe said it was meant to have her come home.

“I want my mother to come home because by brothers and sisters are always crying on me for her, but they refused to go to her new house”, Big Daddy laments.
Pleebo City Mayor Wellington Kyne, says the law should take its course to serve as deterrence.

By George Momo--Editing by Jonathan Browne

Deputy Speaker launches LRD 2 Million micro loans

Deputy House Speaker Prince Kermue Moye has launched a two Million Liberian Dollars loan scheme in an effort to help rural women in Gbarnga, Bong County.


The non-payable loan, which was launched over the weekend during the endorsement of Former Internal Affairs Minister Dr. Henrique Flomo Tokpa as a senatorial candidate to replace Vice President Jewel Taylor is expected to benefit forty nine groupings under the banner “Traditional Friends of Moye”.

The Traditional Friends of Moye is a conglomeration of citizens mainly traditional people who supported the second term mandate of Deputy Speaker Prince Kermue Moye during the October 10th 2017 general elections.

With the support of the Deputy Speaker, members of the group will now be able to enter into new business venture that enable them send their children to school, feed them and also positively respond to their health issues.

Prior to the launch of the loan Program, Executives of the group had earlier complaint about the difficult economic situation in the country, something they say have hinder them from paying their children’s tuition Launching the loan scheme, Mr. Moye said it is important to always help the needy and as such, launching the loan was the best alternative which he said will help to improve the lives of beneficiaries.

According to him, the two million Liberian Dollars is just an initial amount from his office which will be distributed among members of the group to start their local businesses.

The deputy speaker said his desire to contest for the position was to help the local citizens adding that he remains passionate to ensuring the wellbeing of his people.
“We do not want to be like people who have but can’t give to others. That is why we will always help you in whatever ways we can. Besides the loan, we will also make sure to have at least seventy five percent members of the organization on our scholarship scheme across Bong County” Moye added.

He promised to follow the distribution exercise in making sure that members of the group receive their fair share of the loan.The deputy speaker also presented one hundred thousand Liberian Dollars to be placed in the group’s account and additional fifty thousand Liberian Dollars for agriculture activities.

Our Bong County Correspondent says after the pronouncement of the said amount, members of the group were dancing and chanting slogan in the kpelle language “Moye ya mo ya geh, Moye ya mo ya geh” (Moye is talk and do)

By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong County

ECOWAS, WANEP want funding to increase security

The Commission on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) has called for increased funding, information and intelligence sharing and synergy in cross-border security initiatives among Member States to support counter terrorism strategy in the region.


The Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the ECOWAS Commissions General Francis Benhazin said through a proxy during a meeting that a soft approach which involves the need to have a deeper understanding of the dynamics of violent extremism in the region remains the most potent and long term solution against violent extremism.

General Benhazin’s proxy, ECOWAS Standby Force Head of Regional Security Colonel Dieng Abdourahmane stated: ‘We believe that the fight against violent extremism can only be successful through an integrated and comprehensive approach which ranges from local, state, national, regional, continental to the
global levels.”

He added that if aptly implemented, the prevention pillar of the counter terrorism strategy will address the drivers of violent Extremism.

Chairing the meeting, former ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman noted that good governance and sustainable develop will help to address development deficits that mostly underline the emergence of violent extremist groups.


The Deputy Executive Director of WANEP, Mrs. Levinia Addae-Mensah in her remarks, mentioned that the terrorism being encountered in ECOWAS Member States such as Nigeria, Mali and Burkina Faso may have far reaching consequences which could affect future generations.

She said it had become important to create a platform to review and evaluate the various approaches to eradicate terrorism and violent extremism.

The policy dialogue meeting was held following a year-long research undertaken by WANEP to interrogate the root causes and dynamics of violent extremism in West Africa.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) - Reacting to Early Warning and Response Data in West Africa (REWARD) initiative and Member States.--Press release

Ailing Liberian journalist appeals for help

Ailing Liberian journalist Henry K. Bestman is pleading with President George Manneh Weah, First Lady Clar Weah and other senior officials of the Weah government to assist him get medical treatment.


Mr. Bestman suffers a terrible wound on his left elbow, hence an SOS call contained in a press release issued Tuesday, 3 July in Monrovia. He is requesting assistance from Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Justice Minister Musa Dean and other Cabinet Officials and lawmakers, Assistant Minister Laffayette Gould, Mr. Charles Ananaba, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Omega Insurance, Mr. Leonard Kransass, and philanthropist organizations in the country.

Journalist Bestman, according to the release, is a member of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and the Association of Judicial Reporters (AJUR).The release furthers that the ailing journalist has been suffering from the illness since 2004 which he has been struggling with up to present.

It also discloses that Bestman is diagnosed of diabetes, and could have his affected hand cut-off if concrete action is not taken to resolve his critical health problem.
He is asking well-meaning Liberians to assist him with the sum of US$1,300.00 to travel to the Republic of Ghana to undergo skin draft surgery.

The release then expresses gratitude to those who have been giving him handouts over the past time to seek medication, including Associate Justice Kabinah Ja’neh, Solicitor General Darku Mulubah, Mr. Philip N. Wesseh, Managing Editor of The Inquirer Newspaper, and Mr. Cecil Griffiths, president, Law Enforcement Association of Liberia.

Meanwhile, those wishing to contribute to the medical travel of journalist Bestman can do so through the President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) Mr. Charles Cuffey and Mr. Philip N. Wesseh of The Inquirer Newspaper.

By Emmanuel Mondaye--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Commerce Ministry launches Business Hub

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOC) in collaboration with the Swedish National Board of Trade and World Bank Group launch a service sector website here recently to provide e-government solution to the business community and the public at large.


Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh says the LIB Business Hub will not only provide business information but other vital information arising from other institutions, including banking services.

Minister Tarpeh says the website is the first contact for persons doing business and those interesting in doing business in other areas of the economy without encountering any hindrance.

He calls on the business community to make maximum use of the website, as a main source for first hand information about the business climate here, adding that the website gives all necessary data to the public which is the first of its kind in the country.

Earlier, World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Advisor Mattias Karison Jernbacker, says under the “starting “menu people will find all information they need to do business in Liberia.

He notes that by registering as a member of the hub, interested individuals and businesses will be able to take advantage of additional services such as subscribing to news and announcements or receiving alerts every time about something that interests businesses.

In September 2015, the World Bank Group (WBG) conducted a study to publish the latest version of Diagnostic Trade Integration (DTIS) for Liberia aimed at identifying ways of leveraging trade to achieve sustainable growth and poverty reduction.

The World Bank also identified that the main governance limitations relate to lack of access to clear regulatory guidelines, which reduces transparency and hampers the business environment of Liberia.

Consequently, however, the World Bank Group among other things recommended; the establishment of a website with all laws and regulation relevant to the service sector website.

In December 2015, it formed part of the Liberian Post Accession Implementation Plan (LPAP) and Executive Order Number 74 which declares that Liberia shall establish a Services Portal for all business regulations and license processing.

Furthermore, in October 2016, the work started on the Service Portal Website with assistance from the Swedish National Board of Trade (NBT) and the World Bank Group which in February 2018 saw the Beta Version of the website ready.

Accordingly, the website shall serve as a One Stop Shop that is intended to make it easier for anyone who wants to do business in Liberia; provide the central information that anyone needs for starting, growing and closing down a business, and paying taxes, licensing and business registration, respectively, among other services.

By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne