Commerce and Industry Minister Axel Addy has proposed water taxis system that will help ease the transportation constraints that Liberians face in getting to their various destinations in the capital and its environs daily.
Speaking during a press stakeout at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Monday, July 6, Min. Addy said that his wish for easing transportation woes of the population was that, by December this year, there would be water taxis on the Montserrado River Bay.
“From the Caldwell Bridge to Montserrado Bay and from behind Matadi Estate area to the Montserrado Bay,” his dream is to see water taxis plying those routes. Both of these routes will converge on the waterfront alongside Slipway Community in Monrovia, according to Min. Addy.
He told the Dutch delegation leader, Minister Lilianne Ploumen, who stood alongside him in the stakeout, that they had come to Liberia at a time when others were leaving Liberia because of the Ebola crisis.
According to him, the health crisis has devastated the economy and has impacted negatively the lives of Liberians.
Before speaking to reporters, Minister Addy did a power-point presentation in the C. Cecil Dennis Hall of the Ministry. The presentation, according to him, was a joint effort of a team comprising members from Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Commerce. The other entity part of the formulation was the National Investment Commission (NIC).
He told the Dutch delegation that prior to 2014, the nation projected a GDP of over 8 percent.
He listed some of Liberia’s major products to include rubber, cassava and iron ore. He, however, stated that the nation looks forward to explore other avenues.
For her part, the Netherlands Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Minister Lilianne Ploumen, who is leading the 30-plus Dutch entrepreneurs, stated that her investors have not come to Liberia for “quick wins. They are here for a long term commitment to the people and to invest in the economy of Liberia.” She further stated that they want to invest and become a part of the economic growth of Liberia.
“As you mentioned, Mr. Minister, Liberia is opened for business; business that will foster inclusive economic growth,” she stated.
She disclosed that the companies whose representatives came along are engaged in roads and infrastructure, health, agriculture, information technology sector, etc.
Madam Ploumen also stated that the companies will invest in Liberia and will provide on-the-job training for young Liberians.
She concluded by listing four key areas for cooperation between Liberia and the Netherlands: “One is the recently announced public-private partnership for infrastructure development support drive.”
She disclosed that this was not initially opened to Liberia but she has now opened it to the country.
In the second area, she said they have created a Dutch Cooperative Fund for small and medium enterprises, which will provide capital for these businesses.
“We have opened up a scholarship to Liberia for its young people; and the fourth area that I have to mention is that, during my conversation that I had with my colleagues and with Madam President [Ellen Johnson Sirleaf], is that for Liberia to join in our ‘Addis Tax Initiative.’”
According to her, this initiative, which will be presented at a conference in Addis, Ababa next week, will help to invest more in capacity building for developing countries.