President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said that there is no way that the Liberian economy or businesses operating in the country will boom amid the destruction of properties and businesses by demonstrations that have engulfed the country. The President made the statement yesterday when she commissioned the Coca-Cola expansion plant project in Monrovia.
She said meaningful investments that are supposed to improve the lives of the Liberian people and the economy cannot come to the country when investors feel insecure. The President called on Liberians to desist from such negative acts.
“The constant vandalizing and destruction of properties is indeed a cause for concern and a worrisome trend security wise as United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) gradually leaves the country. It cannot work if businesses are destroyed, placards lifted all over the place and policies are not conducive for investment,” the President said.
She was making reference to the frequent demonstrations and destruction of properties and facilities of concessionaires and private businesses. Reference can be made to what recently took place in Ganta, Nimba County, where demonstrators went on the rampage and vandalized government installations and the home and hotel of businessman Prince Howard.
President Sirleaf called on Liberians in every part of the country to create an investment friendly environment for businesses to achieve their potentials.
She called for a better environment for businesses to succeed, expand and grow, adding, “That is an environment of peace, stability and an environment of partnership.”
“Like Firestone Rubber Company, Coca-Cola has been with us for a very long time, more than any of the other partners. During the Ebola crisis when many of our partners were pulling out of the country, they stuck with us,” she said.
She reiterated that violence undermines investment and economic recovery and vehemently condemned all acts of violence and vandalism that seek to shake investors’ confidence and the prospects for economic recovery, stability and prosperity of a post-conflict nation.
The government, she said, is working with business owners and the stakeholders in the country so that everyone feels that this is an environment that is conducive, one that investors will have confidence in that their businesses will grow.
The Coca-Cola ceremony was an economic and social program, which included a new US$5.7 million plastic bottling plant and an education project. The company’s authorities said they are contemplating producing juices of various kinds in addition to beverages that include Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola, Tonic Water, amongst others.
The plant will also produce safe drinking water that over 51,000 Liberians will have access to.
The investment, it is noted, will not only reduce dependency on imported materials for production. It will also enhance employment opportunities for Liberians as the company will now have the capacity to supply Guinea and Sierra Leone as well.
The company’s first PET bottling line, which began production at the Monrovia facility earlier this month, now has the capability to expand Coca-Cola’s beverages in plastic bottles.
The project, according to management, will create an estimated 7,500 direct and indirect employment opportunities over the next five years across Coca-Cola’s locally sourced and supply-chain of distributors, retailers and material suppliers.