Members of the Liberian Chamber of Commerce (LCC) yesterday elected new officers to steer the affairs of the institution for the next term. The election, which took place in the conference hall of the LCC on Capitol Hill, brought to office the president and executive officer (CEO) of Omega Insurance Company, Charles Ananaba, as president-elect.
Mr. Ananaba defeated Henry Brunson, general manager of Safeway Cargo/FedEx, 63 to 22 votes.
The Chamber also elected officials to the executive council, including Assad Barbar, Tony Hage, George Nehme, C. Nelson Oniyama, Tarek Razzouk, Jasper Sigh, Georgio Haddad, Charles Collins and former Finance Minister Lusine Kamara.
Prior to the election, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Axel Addy, informed members of the LCC of the need to do more to improve the business climate for all Liberians.
Minister Addy then lauded Francis A. Dennis, the outgoing president of the LCC, for the active role his administration played engaging government through the Commerce Ministry to bring economic relief to Liberian-owned businesses.
“Your participation has helped us derive solutions that we hope will pave the way where businesses can operate in a better environment.
“Over the last years, we worked on a number of milestones. Thanks to the role you played, Liberia can say we are proud to conclude the WTO process.
“Many of you participated actively in the stakeholders’ engagement in terms of what are those structural changes that needed to be made to make us a more competitive business environment,” he said.
In his acceptance speech, president-elect Ananaba expressed gratitude to members of the institution who unanimously elected him, and called on Chamber members to give their fullest support. He pledged to work hard to build on the foundation of his predecessor to restore LCC back to normality.
According to him, LCC plays a significant role as the ears, eyes, and voice of the private sector in Liberia, particularly recognizing the opportunities ahead and the significance of the institution.
“I have carefully considered my candidacy, and at this moment in time, I believe I am the best prepared to take on the reins of leadership.
“It is incumbent upon this organization to create an environment where business can prosper. We have both the power to influence regulations and laws to make them business friendly, and to collaborate as businesses in mutually beneficial ways,” said Mr. Ananaba.
He promised to lead the executive council of the LCC with honesty, integrity and transparency, adding that to be thoughtful leaders, “we must first earn the trust of all members of the Chamber of Commerce, ordinary citizens of the community, and government officials and agencies we work with and look forward to the challenges ahead.”
“I am ready to lead us forward. It is time to focus on the opportunities ahead,” Ananaba concluded.
The defeated candidate, Mr. Henry Brunson, congratulated the elected officials for taking over the gavel of authority of the LCC.
He said the election has made members to realize the financial support that they wanted and “we have generated what we anticipated.”
According to him, although his campaign did not get him the Chamber presidency, “I have not lost, but the Chamber has won, because the financial arrears that we had outstanding for many years had not been filled up and we are hoping that those detractors (who did not support his bid) will continue to come and support the Chamber.