By Lincoln G. Peters
The National Chairman of the Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL), Mr. Dominic Nimely, wants the Government of Liberia to support local Liberian – owned businesses through the allocation of US$20m annually as loan.
In an exclusive interview with this paper at his office in Central Monrovia during the weekend, Nimely suggested that the loan will boost and ensure the economic viability of Liberian – owned businesses.
The Liberian entrepreneur said supporting and prioritizing Liberian – owned businesses are critical for the growth of the Liberian economy.
Nimely told this paper that this will capacitate Liberian – owned businesses across the country and vastly empower local businesses.
He also believes that it will create a competitive market environment between Liberian business and their foreign counterparts.
Additionally, Nimely wants the Ministry of Commerce to effectively monitor the business environment to ensure that foreign businesses are not doing both retail and wholesale.
The PATEL Boss intoned that these acts are undermining the growth of the local businesses.
“There are several businesses set aside to be done only by Liberians, but foreigners are venturing into [them] with no remorse,” Nimely lamented.
“This is seriously affecting us as local businesses, the Liberalization Policy,’’ he continued.
He expressed frustration that banking institutions and other money lenders allegedly continue creating bottlenecks.
He believes this is also strangulating businesses. He alleged that foreign businesses are the ones directly benefiting from loans and other privileges as opposed to Liberian – owned businesses.
“Loans are not given to local businesses, if by any chance you get it, the interest rate is so very high that to pay back becomes challenging,” he said.
Nimely stated that you are placed at the point of death due to the pressure from the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), the banking institutions, and APM Terminals.
He complained that APM Terminals does not accept Liberian dollars in its business operations.
According to him, if the business community was represented during the APM Terminals deal which states that the company should not receive taxes in Liberian dollars, that would have been rejected.
“How can you give 100% right to APM Terminals and agree in an agreement that they should not accept Liberian dollars currency?”
“That agreement and many others are things that we want to ratify because it’s killing us and we have no voice in our country.
He maintained that PATEL has petitioned the Legislature to ratify some of the business agreements to improve the business climate in Liberia.
But Nimely said the lawmakers are the biggest problem to economic growth due to their quest to prioritize personal interest over national interest.
“Our legislators are poor and hungry, therefore, they sign all kinds of mess that is killing the business community and call it [an] agreement,” Nimely said.
Mr. Nimely urged Liberians to stop voting for hungry people in power. He said these are some of the reasons the country is poor because officials are not afraid of compromising their integrity for little or nothing. –Edited by Winston W. Parley