Thirty-four (34) of the 73 Representatives on Capitol Hill during Tuesday’s session voted to ratify a 30-year Investment Incentive Agreement between Liberia and the Roberts International Airport (RIA) Hotel Resorts, Incorporated.
In Tuesday’s session, there were 38 Representatives present, and 34 of them voted overwhelmingly for the passage of the agreement.
The Lawmakers unanimously voted for the passage of the ‘Tax Holiday,’ following a report from the Joint Committee on Investment and Concession and Judiciary.
The report argued that the hotel or tourism business is a struggling industry in Liberia, and should therefore enjoy a tax holiday.
Representative Zoe E. Pennue, chairman on the House Committee on Investment and Concession, said the agreement would initiate the construction of a hotel and resort comprising 164 rooms and suites, a presidential suite and provide 1,000 jobs and additional electricity to the airport and its environs. He said these will further create a modern and healthy condition in and around the airport in accordance with generally accepted health and sanitation procedures and laws.
Rep. Pennue said the hotel would include a coffee shop, restaurant and bar, banking and/or currency exchange facilities including automatic teller machines (ATM), pool and spa, health and fitness center, multiple conference rooms, internet access, multiple shops selling non-prescription drugs, gifts, sundried flowers, apparel, newspapers and magazines.
“The needs of business travelers and airline personnel for whom proximity to the airport is important, as well as other analyses conducted concerning the demand for hotel capacity and the historically low rate of hotel development in Liberia, demonstrates that the hotel would serve unmet and new market demands,” Rep. Pennue said.
“The investor has financed in excess of US$20 million in the construction and development of the hotel and is seeking certain fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to ensure the viability of the benefits to the country.”
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf submitted the ‘tax cut agreement.’
Meanwhile, a second tax cut agreement is under review by the House, titled, “The Investment Incentive Agreement between the Liberian Government and Musons Group Incorporated,” a local construction firm with an investment of over US$70 million.
The President said the purpose of the agreement is to actualize government’s initiative of attracting and encouraging investment in the country.
The agreement was signed by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the National Investment Commission, and attested to by the Ministry of Justice on behalf of the Executive.
“The investment contract is intended for the construction, development and maintenance of a 210-room state-of-the-art hotel and recreational facilities in Marshall, Margibi County.
“These recreational facilities when completed will develop the tourism sector, provide jobs, generate revenue, provide opportunities for Liberians to showcase their talents and improve the livelihood of the citizens,” the President wrote.
“The aim and objective of this agreement is to develop and put Liberia’s hotel and tourism sectors on par with other developed nations, encourage the construction of facilities that will attract world leaders and other world dignitaries to consider hosting major conferences and other global activities in the country.
“Mr. Speaker, this Investment Incentive Agreement that is in line with Liberia’s relevant laws and public policy appertaining thereto, compliments the development plan of the hotel and resort sector thereby attracting tourists.
“As government commits to creating jobs and a sustainable economic environment, the passage into law of this agreement will demonstrate Liberia’s commitment and implementation in that endeavor.”