President George Manneh Weah issued Executive Order 119 last week Thursday, June 8, imposing surcharge on a few imported goods or raw materials to protect domestic manufacturers and stimulate economic growth.
The Executive Mansion in Monrovia says Executive Order 119, which takes immediate effect, seeks to solidify gains realized under Executive Order 103 and stimulate growth in the Liberian economy.
Government says this is her way of recognizing the need to provide incentives for domestic job creation as envisaged under Pillar 2 (Economy and Job) of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) by protecting local businesses from unfair competition and international brands of locally manufactured goods.
We commend President George Weah for thinking of doing something to protect local manufacturers in the last year of his first term when he had promised in his inaugural speech in 2018 that Liberians will not be spectators in their own economy during his administration.
Nearly six years after, the government is now coming to do what it should have started earlier, because it is seeking re-election. This is why we say it should produce fruits for the Liberian people to see.
Local businesses especially, Liberian-owned investments have suffered lack of incentives from government in a harsh economic environment, putting them at serious disadvantage with their foreign competitors like the Lebanese and Indians.
It is time that government moves to protect Liberian entrepreneurs so that they will be able to remain in business rather than leaving them vulnerable to outside competition, as we have seen over the years.
Domestic investments are a bedrock of any economy, and they should be encouraged to thrive, come what may because they represent the true face of the Liberianization Policy.
But when leaders pay lip service and play politics with the business environment, it is not only the economy that suffers, but the people as well. While we hail President Weah for issuing Executive Order 119, we can but only hope that its real intended purpose will be achieved other than being a cosmetic approach.
We sincerely look forward to seeing its impact on domestic manufacturers that would bring a turnaround to citizens venturing into entrepreneurship.