President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her state of the nation address on Wednesday recommended that the economic vision of the country will increasingly be shifted to agriculture. By doing so, she believes it will ensure that the country moves away from the old system of enclave (commune) extractive industries.
According to Madam Sirleaf, shifting Liberia’s economy to agriculture will enable every citizen to aim at a higher potential that will make the necessary impact and export diversification through stimulating production in a select few of traditional tree crops such as rubber, oil palm and cocoa.
“While continuing to support small farmers, food security can only be achieved through large scale mechanized operations as well as agro-industrial operations, which focus on our nascent (emerging) small and medium sized entities. This will include agro-processing operations that are largely dominated by women,” said President Sirleaf.
He noted that her government is determined to empower the private sector in all that they do so as to make the sector viable to become the driving force of the economy, through which Liberiam entrepreneurship can play its rightful role.
“This can only be achieved with your support in promoting and buying products made in Liberia, and maintaining a good credit rating, in paying your rightful taxes,” she challenged.
President Sirleaf then assured Liberians that her administration will continue to do its part in making it easier to do business by reducing the bureaucratic hurdles, thereby, creating a more conducive and friendly business environment.
This, she said, will ensure that the tax regime is “fair and allows businesses to expand.”
The Liberian Chief Executive re-emphasized that her government will continue to improve the infrastructure required for a successful business climate in the country.
She further said the setback brought onto the country by the Ebola outbreak saw the departure of contractors, technicians and stoppage of concession operations.
However, she expressed her gratitude with the level of progress in the country’s infrastructure development.
She attributed the backwardness in achieving most of the country’s development agenda to poor road network, but stated that basic social services, including electricity, water and sanitation, ports as well as ensuring the improvements are now re-started.”
“These programs are the backbones for expanding the economy and improving the lives of our people, and therefore, critical to achieving our goal of social transformation through inclusive growth,” President Sirleaf indicated.
She reiterated that without a doubt, all of these plans and efforts would require a stable environment of peace and security achieved through higher levels of support for ongoing security sector reforms, and for a stronger open and democratic society that will help to continue the fight against corruption and injustice.