The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the Liberia Business Association or LIBA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at strengthening and building the capacity of local businesses and entrepreneurs across the country.
Addressing reporters during the signing ceremony held Tuesday, 8 August at the Commerce Ministry in Monrovia, Commerce Minister Axel Addy says the MOU between both institutions will go a long way in providing opportunities where entrepreneurs and local businesses would demonstrate their talent as well as strengthen cooperation.
He explains that the value of the MOU signed between his ministry and the LIBA is the cooperation and the work plan that was developed to achieve number of things, adding that LIBA has certain responsibilities to deliver likewise the MOC.
The Commerce boss continues that the two technical teams from both organizations will take the MOU and translate it into an annual work plan to come up with clear targets to be achieved.
He says one of the biggest goals were they were able to mobilize 457 SMEs to benefit from the LIBA law, saying “We have approved LBA procurement plan from the PPCC with a target of 83 millions $USD.”
“After the signing of the MOU, we will now work in partnership with LIBA to create awareness, and develop tools to train some Liberian businesses to support the agenda, and build the capacity of LIBA, it is also a joint exercise to increase membership, among others.”
Minister Addy says local businesses and those that want to open their own businesses stand to benefit a lot from the MOU, including increase of Liberian-owned businesses, and enforcement of the investment program.
For his part, the President of the Liberia Business Association, David K. Sembeh recalls that LIBA came into existence in 1993 by an Act of the Liberia Legislation with to advocate, provide capacity building, policy coordination and facilitate access to finance.
“We cannot build the capacity of our members without training, MOC is our line Ministry; it is against this backdrop that we are partnering with them to train our members on how they can benefit from 5% of the benchmark given by the government”, Mr. Sembeh explains.
He says in order for the country to be developed, it is incumbent upon every citizen to play a part, adding “We must not expect foreigners to come and develop our own country particularly the business entrepreneurs.”
He notes that years back the economy heavily relied on iron ore, rubber and other minerals, but today, the country cannot depend on these commodities because of the crackdown on the global market.
“What we now need to do is to strengthen the private sector, because it will be able to create job opportunities that will boost the economy.”
The LIBA boss stresses that this could be one of the roadmaps if Liberians want to see their country developed, and notes that the signing of the MOU is a unique opportunity for LIBA, promising the association’s full cooperation in the implementation of terms of the agreement. Editing by Jonathan Browne