Former Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) Managing Director now turned business entrepreneur, Harry Greaves, says the Ebola crisis has cause a drastic decline in business operations in Liberia.
Speaking to the Daily Observer recently, Mr. Greaves who along with his wife operates a catering business in two locations, Monrovia and Paynesville, indicated that they are now compelled to close down one branch of the business due to a decline in income.
According to him, 80% of his workers are out of work now because the business is unable to pay them.
“We hope this Ebola crisis will last for a short time so that we can regain our customers,” he said.
Mr. Greaves and his wife Precious operate the PA’s Rib House, a catering business that serves food and creates meeting spaces for the public.
As a result of the worsening conditions created by Ebola, most of the customers have left the country and their business has lost income.
Mr. Greaves alluded to the high cost of energy as one factor creating an impediment to business growth in the country.
He suggested that if the energy sector becomes as competitive as the communication industry, electricity will be cheaper and the entire country would be electrified.
He said the Mount Coffee hydro plant under construction now will not even be able to serve the entire Monrovia because 70 megawatts is just too small to contend with the population concentrated in Monrovia.
“The population of Monrovia is high and most businesses here need electricity to operate. What can 70 megawatts do to Monrovia before extending outside of the capitol? What we should be thinking about now is 700 megawatts. To get electricity cheaper here, government must open up the energy business to investors so competition can come as it is with the communications industry,” he asserted.
Mr. Greaves also expressed fear that Liberia may lose the Power Africa Project initiated by President Barack Obama because as one of the countries chosen to benefit, Liberia has not met the criteria set for selected countries.
He maintained that the same goes for the cement company, CEMENCO, adding that a lot of Liberians would put up magnificent structures that will give a facelift to the cities and towns in Liberia.
Recalling interactions he had with the management of CEMENCO, the Liberian businessman said the management is of the conviction that if cheap electricity were available, the price of cement would come down as low as US$4.00 per bag.