The National Investment Commission (NIC) clarifies that the Government of Liberia awarded 15 years tax holidays to the Management of the Farmington Hotel near the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County, and not 30 years as being rumored, saying the NIC had never granted 30 years tax waiver to any company operating in Liberia.
National Investment Commission Chairman, George Wisner, further clarifies that the 30-year lease agreement signed by the Management of the Farmington Hotel does not mean that the hotel is tax-free, explaining that there is a difference between investment incentives and lease agreement.
He made the clarification in an interview with reporters at his office in Monrovia recently following reports that the Government of Liberia has exempted the hotel from paying taxes.
Chairman Wisner explains that government gives investment incentives to encourage businesses, sometimes due to the high cost of doing business, and to avoid market failure or because of a particular sector that the government hopes to develop, which may necessitate certain rights of waiver.
He continues that the current situation involving the Farmington Hotel is in line with the revenue and investment codes, and the government, through the National Investment Commission and other agencies, has right to grant incentives to businesses on two fronts.
According to Wisner, the NIC may grant special incentives to businesses that have met the threshold of a concession whether the investor is an African or otherwise, and those who invest in certain areas of the economy, such as tourism, health, education, infrastructure, ICT, waste management and manufacturing, among others.
The NIC boss stresses that if these investors had an investment size of US$500,000 and above, they may apply to government for incentives, adding that those investing over US$10 million in the economy are automatically incentive size through a concession.
Chairman Wisner notes that in both cases, the NIC may evaluate investors’ proposals whether from Liberians or foreigners, and may grant incentives on grounds that the business has prospects of generating high economic returns for the country in the long-run or has social returns.
He says investors, who meet all requirements set forth by the government are granted incentives in accordance with the laws of Liberia, as in the case of the Farmington Hotel.
By Emmanuel Mondaye -Editing by Jonathan Browne