The President of the Liberia Business Association D. Maxwell Kemayah has frowned at the Government of Liberia for failing to support Liberian-owned businesses, saying “Why should we hail the government for giving 25% to Liberian-owned businesses? Why not 75%?” he asked.
He said one of the fundamental causes of the Liberian Civil War is poverty, which is still visible in the streets of Liberia. “We have the iron ore, diamond and all the resources, but yet poverty is still at its highest level in our country.”
According to the LBA boss, a handful of people are playing with the country’s wealth and resources while the ordinary people languish in complete poverty. Mr. Kemayah spoke Thursday, January 21, 2016 at a local hotel in Monrovia during a one-day policy dialogue on the Liberian Economy organized by the Governance Commission. The forum brought together officials of government line ministries and agencies, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders.
He said though government cannot create jobs for 50 percent of her citizens, it should strengthen the private sector, noting “As we speak, we are troubled that more than hundred and eighty of our Liberian compatriots have been layoff by Arcelor Mittal; we hear of Putu Iron Ore shutting down soon.”
Mr. Kemayah stressed the need to invest in the agriculture sector as a way of empowering Liberians to take charge of the economy. He said this could be achieved thru private-public partnership.
“When you win a bid as a businessman or woman, there is a need to ensure quality services or delivery. We champion and support that, but the issue of capacity gap cannot continue to be used as a pretense to deny us Liberians from being involved in business.”
For his part, Senator CommanyWesseh of River Gee County said members of the Liberian Legislature are very interested in the role being played by the Governance Commission, saying “I agree with the thought that Liberia must be a middle income country. We as representatives are working to increase the collaboration between the Legislature and the Governance Commission.
SenatorWesseh said Liberians have been cheating themselves to the extent that anything they do must include partners. “We must own all of our country and not just 25 percent, and it is time Liberian-owned businesses take ownership of the economy”, he emphasized.
By Lewis S. Teh