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Editorial – Sustaining an Investment-Friendly Environment

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The West Africa Executive Vice President for the French petroleum company TOTAL, Stanislas Mittelman, disclosed here recently that the company invests about US$7 million annually in the Liberian economy. Mr. Mittleman added that besides profit motive, TOTAL’s investment here was in a bid to help revive the country’s post-war economy. He made the disclosure during a courtesy call on the Vice President of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai at the Capitol Building last Friday.

The TOTAL Executive further boasted of an investment portfolio between US$35 and US$40m in Liberia, adding that the number of gas stations the company has constructed in the country since its arrival here in 2005 will reach 20 by the end of 2011.

We at the New Dawn-Liberia hail TOTAL for such an investment of about US$42m in the Liberian economy in the last six years as one of the first post-war companies to have come here to help stabilize the country’s petroleum market. Besides, during the period under review, the company has also provided employment for about 700 persons with plans to extend services to at least 10 counties by 2012.

TOTAL’s successes outlined here, coupled with similarly great strides being made by other concessionaires speak to the friendly investment environment created since the first post-war democratic elections in 2005. Throughout the world, economies are driven by strong investments in a politically stable and business friendly environment wherein entrepreneurs are convinced of getting good returns for their ventures.

The Government of Liberia, including all citizens and foreign residents should see this as the greatest responsibility we owe to ourselves as a nation. This is why it is important that everything should be done to sustain the current economic environment in the country to continuously attract investors.

As the country goes to general and presidential elections, we urge all politicians to keep at the back of their minds that the delivery of basic social services being promised at campaign rallies can only be achieved in a viable economy where investments boom and taxes are paid. Experiences from our years of civil conflict should have taught us enough lessons by now that an unstable political environment is counterproductive to building a viable economy. Entrepreneurs with money will never think of putting their resources or capital in a chaotic society.

Strong economic activities are by-products of responsible politicking wherein national interest supersedes selfish narrow goals.  It therefore behoves candidates for political offices, electorates and citizens in general to act in a way that will not disrupt the current economic environment in our country. The dividends this nation stands to reap in a politically stable and investment-friendly environment are enormous, particularly in the wake of offshore explorations here for oil, one of the world’s hottest commodities.

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