President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has formally opened the offices of PricewaterHouseCooper (PwC) in Liberia after many years of absence from the Liberian market.
In her remarks, the President stated that PwC – although established in the country long before the war – is not well known. However, she said it has taken on a new face since returning to the country two years ago.
“It’s a good thing to be here today to be able to recognize a significant step in our growth of local institutions,” the President added.
She further stated that she was glad that PwC, among whose core activities is auditing, has satisfied all the requirements of the Liberian law for it to be in operation in the country.
President Sirleaf also expressed satisfaction that as PwC takes on a new phase in Liberia, it has involved one Liberian, Mr. Taweh Jefferson Veikai as its Country Senior Partner.
Although she did not categorically cite the provisions in the Act creating the Liberian Institute of Public Accountants (LIPA), the President used the occasion to register her displeasure with some provisions in the Act.
“But Arthur, I know you praised your Act, we are not very happy with some provisions of the Act. But as they say ‘all’s well that ends well,’ but there are provisions in that Act that have to be looked at,” the President stressed.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Arthur Fumba, president of the Liberian Institute of Public Accountants, said he was grateful for the new Act, which now compels foreign firms of such nature that come to Liberia to be regulated by LIPA.
He said he was happy that PwC has come to Liberia to help in the growth of the Liberian economy and Liberians themselves.
“In times past, foreign accounting organizations only came to Liberia and after they had done their auditing without any regulation, they collected their monies, put them in their suitcases and flew out of the country without any help to Liberians. Please tell all other foreign firms that if they want our money let them come and stay with us,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr. Taweh Jefferson Veikai, who now heads PwC’s office in Liberia, said PwC Liberia is a full member of the network of firms of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited and has unrestrained access to the global network’s vast resource base of proprietary knowledge, methodologies and experience.
Mr. Veikai told the audience that as professional advisors, their core values include helping their clients solve complex business problems and aim to enhance their ability to build value, manage risk and improve performance.
“We take pride in the fact that our services add value by helping to improve transparency, trust, and consistency of business processes.
He disclosed that in Africa, PwC is the largest provider of professional services with close to 450 partners and 8,500 people located in 33 countries. He further stated that this enables PwC to provide its clients with seamless and consistent services wherever they are located on the continent.
“PwC’s return to Liberia is a sign of the significant progress made by the Liberian government in attracting Foreign Direct Investment in an emerging economy. Liberia has a huge potential for growth due to its abundant natural resources and emerging markets,” he said.
He further stated that there are immense potentials in several areas, particularly in Assurance, Tax, Advisory, Government, International Development Organizations and Global investments.
“We look forward to playing a major role in improving the quality of life of the people of Liberia by opening new opportunities for local businesses as well as providing job opportunities for the talented young workforce,” Veikai added.
However, he said their focus first is to quickly build relationships and offer valuable solutions to their clients, based on both their understanding of the Liberian economy and global trends so that clients can get ahead of the business curve, as they expect their global clients to invest and expand new markets in Liberia.
He also disclosed that they have plans to recruit, develop and build the capacity of young Liberian professionals from across various educational backgrounds, including chartered accountancy, tax, advisory, law, management, and many others.
“We are currently working closely with the Liberian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA) to develop industry ready professionals,” he further stated; adding: “We are here to build long term relationships with clients, people, and the communities in Liberia through our new office. Our plan is to build a team of PwC professionals by recruiting the best, brightest, and talented young individuals in Liberia and expanding their knowledge base so that they can support an environment that encourages more companies to grow and expand by providing industry insight and helping clients solve important problems.”
Toward this drive, an official of PwC disclosed that they will be sending some Liberians to Nigeria for a two-year training program and that they were also glad to receive 15 young ladies from some of the universities, which sent them on an internship program.