The President of the Liberian Business Association (LIBA), Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah has said that for Liberians to take charge of their country’s economy it is crucial that and the 25 percent budget expenditure allocated to Liberian-owned businesses by the government should be increased to 100 per cent.
He argued that Liberians are building confidence in the banking sector and therefore it is necessary for the government to fully support Liberian businesses to let them take charge of the economy.
Mr. Kemayah made the statement over the weekend at a one-day policy dialogue on validation consultation, organized by the Governance Commission on Scoping Study of Liberian Entrepreneurs’ Participation in the Liberian Economy, held at a local resort in Monrovia.
“We still can do better and therefore it will be helpful for the government to increase the 25 per cent to 100 per cent,” he said.
He therefore called on the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC) to make public the list of Liberian businesses that have benefited from the implementation of the Small Businesses Act since its inception two years ago.
Commenting on the unwillingness of Liberian businesses to take advantage of training opportunities, Kemayah called on the commission to allow LIBA to take the lead in arranging and conducting future training for its members.
“When you allow us to take the lead, our members will have more confidence in the process,” he emphasized.
For his part, executive director of the PPCC, James Dorbor Jallah, disclosed that over US$90 million has been committed to Liberian businesses by 82 Government of Liberia-funded agencies.
The amount is part of the agencies’ procurement allotment in the 2015/16 fiscal budget.
He added that some of the agencies have committed up to 100 percent of their procurement allotment, implying that their procurement budget is committed to tender competition among only Liberian companies.
“The average national percentage is about 30 percent; so what that means is that nationally, though the law requires a minimum of 25 percent, we are doing five percent more than it is required,” Jallah pointed out.
The PPCC Executive Director, however, lamented on the inability of Liberian businesses to deliver quality services on contracts awarded them.
He said in spite of the provision by the Small Businesses Act, which requires that 25 percent of all government procurements be committed to Liberian businesses, the commission will not relax its rules to awarding contracts to institutions that lack the technical capacity to deliver on contracts.
Jallah also frowned on Liberian companies for their unwillingness to take advantage of training opportunities offered them by the commission.
“We remain open to the training of Liberian businesses that are in need of capacity building in procurement and related PPCC exercises,” he added.
He pledged PPCC’s support to Liberian businesses to ensure that they have a place in the economy through the enforcement of the Small Businesses Empowerment Law, without compromise.