Authorities at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said it has formulated efforts aimed at making “fronting” a criminal offense, a release has said.
Fronting, according to the Ministry, is one of the biggest challenges to the Liberianization policy. The term basically describes a type of fraud, in which Liberians become the face of businesses under the Liberianization policy, but which are financially backed by foreigners below the required investment threshold. “It can, however, have serious consequences,” the release said.
Many people who ‘front’ do not know it is illegal, and instead think they are being savvy with their business.
But Commerce Minister Wilson K. Tarpeh, said the ministry’s legal team has been working along with the Legislature to enact a law that criminalizes fronting.
The Liberianization Policy, meant to give Liberians the needed space in the commerce of their country, continues to be undermined by some of the “very people it was intended to help.”
Some of the main problems with fronting has been the government’s capacity to determine who all might be in violation and where; as well as sufficient awareness conducted on the practice. In some cases, the political will to clamp down on fronting is stymied by some powerful officials in government who may have interests in certain foreign-owned businesses and choose to front instead of investing their fair share.
Mr. Tarpeh then called on well-meaning Liberians, especially those in the business sector to desist from practices that have the propensity to undermine government’s efforts to transform their lives.
He said fronting, among other vices, will continue to give aliens and foreigners edge over Liberians in the business sector.