— Returning President, Cllr. Oswald Tweh, promises that the chamber will continue to be the strong voice of the business community
The Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) has inducted into office its new leadership headed by Cllr. N. Oswald Tweh, together with executive council members for a period of two years.
The installation, recognition, and awards dinner, held at the LCC’s headquarters on Capitol Hill, Monrovia, on September 29, brought together several dignitaries, including the US Ambassador Michael A. McCarthy; UN Resident Coordinator Niels Scott; Ambassador of Lebanon, Henri Kastoun; elite members of the business community; and guests of the installed officers, at a well-organized, formal occasion.
Most of those being inducted had been re-elected. Now they were taking office at a time of escalating economic crises in the country, including an acute rice shortage, unstable prices of essential commodities and rising unemployment.
Delivering his keynote address, the United States Ambassador to Liberia, Michael A. McCarthy, aptly reminded the audience that the Chamber has been serving Liberian business for over 70 years. This reminder would set the tone to encourage the new leadership to forge ahead in spite of the circumstances.
“Some of those years were not easy, but the fact we are gathered here today is a testament to your dedication and commitment to this country; a country that needs your expertise, your drive, and your vision now more than ever to thrive,” McCarthy said.
“This isn’t a one-way street, however.” McCarthy urged the Government of Liberia to “fully harness the Chamber as a vital resource to help guide policies that support the pro-poor agenda in creating employment, revenue, and opportunities for the many young Liberians seeking decent work. I know that, by definition, your interests may not always align directly, but these men and women share your same dream of achieving the prosperity Liberia deserves. I hope that where you see differences, you can find common ground with the understanding that all of you are working toward the same goal.”
Commending the leadership and members of LCC for organizing the event, McCarthy said the United States has supported this chamber since its inception more than 70 years ago.
“I stand here today, a committed partner to you and to Liberia,” he said. “It has been encouraging to watch the Chamber of Commerce regain momentum over the past year and a half. The people of the United States will continue to seek ways to help support and amplify your important work, and we look forward to what the next 70 years will bring!”
In his induction speech, Cllr. N. Oswald Tweh told members that the Chamber will continue to be the strong collective voice of the business community by actively advocating for changes or reforms to ensure that government policies and support are in place to help the business community prosper and grow, drive economic expansion for the good of the country and contribute to the creation of an enabling and conducive environment for commerce, industry, trade and agriculture.
Tweh, who took the oath of office to begin his second and final term as president of the Chamber, said the “creation of an enabling environment is crucial to the country’s economic growth and we will make strides to improve it.”
He, however, said that businesses are supposed to be comfortable and assured that their investments are secure under the rule of law.
Tweh said private sector growth is not only crucial for economic growth but also necessary for the success of an economic recovery.
He said a strong and vibrant private sector results in GDP growth, employment creation, and poverty alleviation. “As a private sector with a mandate to promote the business community, the Liberia Chamber of Commerce shall continue to engage every government agency and other interest group where necessary and make recommendations.”
Tweh added: “We all must show concerted efforts to ensure that our economy succeeds in an economic recovery.”
He said the past two years have been extremely hard and most challenging for the business community, with some barely surviving.
Tweh continued, “As we began to transition from the pandemic, we were yet again confronted with another serious situation — the Russia-Ukraine war. Let’s take what we’ve learned and continue to create and innovate. Let the chamber be the medium for the sharing of strategies to address common challenges, such as shortages and increased costs due to supply chain disruption.”
In brief remarks, the UN Resident Coordinator, Niels Scott, congratulated the LCC for a successful election. He told the leadership that the people are the motor of economic growth and, as such, there is a lot that the private sector and the public can achieve together to uplift the country's economy.
Those inducted into office were Cllr. N. Oswald Tweh, President; Executive Council Members: Ahmed Wazni, 1st Vice Chair; O. Natty B. Davis, 2nd Vice Chair; Nathaniel E. Kevin, Treasurer; Atty. Oliver N. Rogers, II, Auditor; Cllr. Benedict F. Sannoh, Arbitration Committee Member; T. Nelson Williams, Arbitration Committee Member; and Jaspal Singh, Arbitration Committee Member.
Other Executive Council members include John B.S. Davies, Rony Gharib, Ali Fouani, Jay Sethi, Shankar Jhamnani, Jefyne Togba, Jerry Taylor, and Laureine Guilao.
The event featured musical interludes by saxophonist Gabriel Hutchins and vocalist Lisa Jesslyn Williams, while Alexandra Bonar (Aka Lexi Green) offered inspiration through poetry.
The program included the presentation of awards and recognition of some of its former officials, including Monie R. Captan, past president from 2010-2013; Francis A. Dennis, past president from 2013-2017; Tony Hage, Upjit Singh Sachdeva, Charles Collins and several others.