President George Manneh Weah has warned here that people should not mix business with politics on grounds that being active in business and politics could make some government to deny business people opportunities.
While being honored Thursday, 9 August at the Monrovia City Hall by the Liberia Business Association (LIBA), Mr. Weah warned that mixing business with politics has the ability to undermine the growth of one’s business and “to cause strangulations and setback for them.”
“…We all are Liberians and we have political interest and when the time comes for politics you can play your part as a Liberian and when it is time for business you focus on your business; but be active in business and be active in politics could make some government deny you the opportunities,” Mr. Weah says.
According to an Executive Mansion release issued over the weekend, President Weah is also admonished Liberian business owners to be truthful to themselves and demonstrate the highest level of maturity in managing their businesses.
He calls on Liberian business owners to put aside wasteful spending and control their resources.“You cannot wear US$7,000 shoes when you borrow US$6,000 from the bank,” President Weah is quoted as saying.
“When you are doing business, don’t go above what you have invested in your business; some people will have US$5,000 dollars for business and will buy US$7,000 dollars shoes,” President Weah adds.
He notes that if a business person wants to succeed in business, they should learn how to control what they have. “Liberians should not spend above their income and that is the best way you succeed in business,” he says further.
He acknowledges the fact that Liberian businesses are not in domineering position compared to foreign-owned businesses here.He reassures that his government would work to reverse this situation by providing the necessary leverages that will enable them to compete and eventually become leaders in driving the economy.
“We must be frank that the private sector of Liberia is dominated by foreigners almost to the exclusion of Liberian businesses, and this has been the situation for many decades,” President Weah notes.
He recalls how he suffered similar challenges in acquiring loans from banks because of the general belief here that Liberian – owned business always default on paying back their debts.
According to President Weah, when he was constructing a chain of stores in Redlight, Paynesville, he had difficulties acquiring a loan from a bank here.Mr. Weah underscores that a vibrant private sector in which both domestic and foreign investors can freely participate will create more job opportunities for Liberians, especially the youthful population.
As such, he reassures that Liberian businesses remain at the top of his government’s agenda to help create the opportunities for a very strong Liberian private sector in which both domestic and foreign investors will have fair opportunity of participation.
“We are of the strong conviction that the private sector is an important strategic partner to the government of Liberia. As we now [begin] the implementation of our economic master plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda with prosperity and development,” President Weah says.
During the event at City Hall, the Executive Mansion says President Weah received LIBA’s first business leadership award.The Mansion says the president was given the award for the many contributions he is making toward the realization of the Liberianization policy aimed at giving Liberian businesses greater opportunities in their own economy.
In a proclamation, LIBA details how it has benefited from several opportunities including the provision of US$1 Million for empowerment of small businesses, among other commitments in the six months of President Weah’s leadership.
By Winston W. Parley