By Joaquin Sendolo
Mr. J. Cristo Kiepea, the chief executive officer and founder of the PAN Family Health Services constructing a US$1.6 million primary care facility in Brewerville, outside Monrovia, has called on the government to reduce customs duty for Liberians returning from the Diaspora to implement development projects.
Mr. Kiepea made the request in an interview yesterday in Brewerville at the ground-breaking for the hospital facility he and his wife are building to serve people in that rural part of Montserrado County.
According to him, high customs duty is levied on the materials he is bringing into the country to facilitate the hospital project, which he says is burdensome for someone wishing to help government by erecting a facility that will be of a help to the country.
“I have paid over US$3,000 for containers I am bringing, and I am not going to sell these things but to build a facility that will help the government. Let the government provide us incentives through reduction of customs duties as citizens coming back home to help build the country,” Mr. Kiepea said.
High customs duties and other fees at the port of entry have been a concern for a lot of businesspeople and others bringing goods into Liberia. This has contributed to skyrocketing prices of commodities on the market.
Giving the background of the project, Mr. Kiepea said he and his wife decided in 2003 to return home and undertake a project that will sustain them and serve humanity.
“When we decided on what to do, we began putting money together, engaging in real estate business and increasing our retirement accounts. Most of the finances are from our income and as you can see the containers there (contain) materials and more are on the way. We expect to dedicate this project by February 5, 2018,” Kiepea said.
Describing the planned health facility, the PAN Family CEO said it will contain ten admissions and six procedural rooms and five examination rooms. He added that the facility will also have an advance internet system where workers will communicate through an internal and external network system.
He said the health facility will be a primary care center that will diagnose cases and make referrals.
At the ground-breaking ceremony where many residents and officials were expected, only the Mayor of Brewerville City, George V. Curtis attended.
Mayor Curtis commended the Kiepea family for the vision and pledged his full support to the project.
Mr. Kiepea graduated from the University of Liberia with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. He later earned his Master’s degree in Information Technology and Baccalaureate Certificate in Informatics and Health Assurance.
His wife is a family health practitioner with a Master’s degree in Family Nursing and over ten years of working experience in the United States.