Deputy Commerce Minister Assures SMEs of Gov’t Support

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Deputy Minister for Small Business Administration at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), Paygar Flangiah, has assured Liberian-owned small businesses that government will do everything to empower them.

He made the statement last Friday at a program marking the official launch of Logistics and Business Management Support System (LBMSS) and the first graduation of 85 drivers from the Drivers’ Link Program organized by Gusceman Inc, a Liberian-owned corporation.

The two companies are jointly involved in Business Development, Financial Management, Agriculture, Construction and Engineering, Logistics and Fleet management, as well as Project and program management. Other areas include Capacity building and training and Information technology.

Minister Flangiah, who is responsible for helping Liberian-owned businesses have adequate access to financial services and markets, facilitating transition of small businesses from the informal to the formal sector and promoting capacity development, said he would ensure that they provide small businesses the necessary support they needed to grow.

“We are happy to be here today to launch these two Liberian-owned businesses; they have started and identified a particular gap in the marketplace that they want to serve.

“I think this is important; and as you are already aware, LBMSS and Gusceman are involved in vehicle rental, fleet management and maintenance services as well as involved in training professional drivers that will be hired, either by government or the private sector,” he said.

According to him, most present or erstwhile drivers in the country today do not know the basic traffic rules, and as a result, they get lost in traffic, adding: “So these two Liberians have a package that will address those kinds of issues.”

He noted that the launch of the corporation and training of drivers is very important to the country, because it is consistent with the government’s efforts and what he termed as the “inclusive growth” of the private sector.

Minister Flangiah continued: “We just wanted to assure you in this public manner that the Ministry will support you and help in the process of helping the graduates get placed in the job market… there are a lot of driving schools in the country, but they are doing it to fill a particular gap in that sector.”

He said the government wants to ensure that as a country, “we are all growing together and will make sure that nobody is left out regardless of where you come from, your education background or connection; we will make sure that every Liberian participates in the economy, which will help us grow as a nation.”

Earlier, Augustus J. Flomo, CEO of Gusceman Inc, congratulated the drivers for the steps taken to acquire additional training in driving.

Mr. Flomo said the one month training allowed drivers to learn about defensive driving and safety, professional ethics as well as understanding the rules of the road, road signs and personal hygiene.

He told the gathering that the training was delivered by industry professionals and a Liberian National Police (LNP) team led by the Chief of Accident Investigation and an Instructor of the LNP Training Academy.

These drivers, according to him, went through a rigorous exercise from application to interview, to training and background checks, adding: “We believe that they are now ready for placement.”

He further said, “As you can see here today, Liberia must be built by us through the application of our individual knowledge and skills. By that we mean making the necessary sacrifices and working hard with no sleep day and night to make our dream become a reality.”

“My business partners came a long way; and today, we are doing all we can in our best way to support businesses and the economy with what we can. It has not been easy; from college to work in places we worked previously and now braving the storm to be entrepreneurs,” added Flomo.

He therefore called on government and other partners to help them succeed, something that will have a direct impact on Liberia’s economy by creating jobs and wealth.

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