The second round of the Business Climate Working Group has been slated for 8th and 9th of March this week in Gompa City, Nimba County.
Theme of the two-day forum is “Trading across Borders”, one of the indicators of the World Bank Doing Business Report. According to the Report, Liberia ranks lower than more than 75 percent of all the countries in trading across borders. The Report cited the delay in processing import and export documents as well as the time it takes to transship goods across borders.
The forum will focus on import and export as well as transshipment of goods and services across borders.
Consultant and Technical Economic Advisor to the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, P. Emmanuel Munyeneh, says the exercise will bring together all actors involved in land and sea port related activities.
Speakers will include officials of government, members from the private sector as well as from the donor community and embassies near Monrovia. Delegates from ECOWAS and the Mano River Union will also be present to share their experiences on the importance of trading across borders.
Mr. Munyeneh notes that some of the thematic topics to be discussed include the relevance of import and export permits, border patrol and anti-smuggling, the role of digital economy in cross borders trade, government revenue, payments, processes and constraints, expansion of port operations, among others.
Speakers from the National Port Authority, AMP Terminals, the Liberia Revenue Authority, Customs Brokers, BIVAC, Central Bank of Liberia and the Ministry of Commerce will make presentations.
An international trade and port specialist from the World Bank Group, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will also present its perspectives on port operations and international best practices. Members of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, the Liberia Business Association, PATEL, and the Cross Borders Women Association will also share their experiences and lessons learned in cross borders trade. Donor and bilateral partners including EU, USAID, SIDA, World Bank, UNDP and DFID, among other dignitaries will be in attendance as well.
Last October, President George M. Weah constituted the Business Climate Working Group with the mandate to, among other things, explore evolving challenges and prospects of the Liberian business environment and workout helpful plans and strategies towards improvement. The President further directed the Working Group to identify quick ‘low hanging fruits’ in the business climate and deliver them in the shortest possible time.
Doing a recent Business Climate meeting focusing on Getting Credit, Resolving Insolvency and Enforcing Contracts, participants representing both the public and private sectors including judges, lawmakers, donor partners and members of the business community agreed that there was a need to resolve some of the challenges to a business friendly environment.
This second phase is expected to shed light on the importance of trading across borders and how it can help improve the economy through economic growth and jobs creation. Editing by Jonathan Browne