LIBA President Calls for National Arts & Crafts Program


The president of the Liberia Business Association (LIBA), Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah Sr., is calling on the government to establish a national arts and crafts program to showcase Liberian small business entrepreneurs in the industry.
He made the call last Friday during the Arts and Crafts Fair organized by the United States Embassy in Monrovia.
This year’s Arts and Crafts Fair, which is an annual event organized by the United States Embassy, brought together over 80 vendors, including officials of government and students, to grace and strengthen the occasion.
“If arts and crafts were a national program and scheduled for every year, they will develop to our expectations and creates the avenue for vendors to be financially secure or protected. At LIBA, we maintain that the security we need is money; and Liberian business owners are ready to expand or take it to another level,” Kemayah said.
He stressed the need for an arts and crafts sector initiative that will create an enabling environment where all vendors will network among each other to ensure the production of new materials.
He said: “Just by walking around today, we have observed that there is a change in this year’s Arts and Crafts Fair; and have also realized that there are new products added to the Arts and Crafts here today.”
Mr. Kemayah also hailed the United States Embassy for the initiative to promote Liberian businesses.
He then suggested to the business community and the government to organize a National Trade Fair where all businesses, including those in the arts & crafts industry, will showcase their products.
Sheila Paskman, Chargé d’Affairs, United States Embassy, said the initiative which started seven years ago with few vendors, has developed greatly, and also providing the necessary opportunity for Liberian vendors to showcase their products.
Madam Paskman said the fact that all Liberian businesses want to participate indicates how successful the United States Embassy Arts and Crafts Fair is, and the level of impact it is making in the lives of Liberian vendors.
“We are also aware that the vendors make more money at the Arts and Crafts Fair than what they earn during the rest of the year. They also learn from each other about quality control, packing and displaying market products. The items you see today are handmade,” she said.
She also hailed the vendors for helping to support Liberia’s development through creativity and ensuring that Liberians make use of their own products.
In remarks, Andrew Paygar, Deputy Commerce Minister for Small Business Administration, said the government, particularly the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, believes that the private sector remains the driver of Liberia’s economic growth.
“Based on this, in December of 2014, the government through the National Legislature passed a law called Small Business Empowerment Law. This Law seeks to empower businesses and will bring on board carpenters, agriculture, construction and arts and crafts among others, to see what can be done to develop the private sector,” Minister Paygar said.
According to him, for the first two quarters of the fiscal year the Ministry started experimenting with the Law and some progress has been made, adding: “Up to December 21, 2015, we have executed almost nine million dollars in contracts to the private sector.”


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