Due to a number of difficult banking issues facing the country, the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) after an emergency Executive Council (EC) meeting on Tuesday, January 22, voted unanimously to reach out to President George Manneh Weah and his Economic Management Team (EMT) to find timely solutions to the economic challenges faced by the country.
The LCC said before meeting President Weah it wants to meet the Bankers’ Association of Liberia to be followed by another meeting with the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).
The Council, in its deliberation on the challenges in the banking sector, concluded that the exercises would be more productive from a bird’s eye view on policy, banking and economic issues rather than taking a sector isolated approach.
Fundamental issues affecting the economic growth and development of the country must be addressed holistically and timely to sustain the economy and create 20,000 to 30,000 new jobs, the LCC said.
The Executive Committee of the LCC represents the voice of the business community.
In consideration of the proposed meeting with President Weah and his economic team, the LCC is requesting the government to order the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), National Port Authority (NPA), Global Tracking & Maritime Solutions (GTMS), APM Terminals (AMPT), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) to suspend the introduction and/or implementation of any new or recently activated levies and/or fees on their books or those being administered by service concession contractors.
The “Chamber” in representation and partnership with the Liberian Business Association (LIBA), Liberia Marketing Association (LMA), Fula Business Association (FBA), the World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU), Liberia Bankers Association (LBA), Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL), Liberia Agriculture Companies Association (LACA), concessionaires and others, are the lead implementers of the Government of Liberia’s Pro-poor Agenda for Development and Progress (PADP).
Therefore, the LCC takes note of the issues at hand: high prices, multiple taxes, levies/fees; foreign exchange; labor unrest; judicial challenges; concessions; high unemployment; etc. The LCC said it looks forward to a genuine partnership with government to move the economy forward.
The LCC said it is committed to forging a new partnership with the government to uplift Liberians and Liberian businesses through employment, mentorship, and empowerment.
“We are committed to promoting and supporting a balanced economy that positions Liberians as participants in the economy. We are doing so by our actions. The LCC sponsored LIBA and PATEL members to participate in the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) Trade Fair in the USA, and with contribution and support from the Government of Liberia, the second trade fair in Egypt. The Chamber is working to secure medium-term credit from abroad to support local manufacturing, processing and assembly in Liberia,” according to an LCC press release.
Working with the minister of finance, the LCC is leading the coordinating process to obtain the Africa Trade Insurance coverage for Liberia for the purpose of providing investors’ confidence to forge ahead with investment opportunities in Liberia. It is worth noting that the chamber has intervened in the past years in advising the government on various national economic issues.
In 2008, the LCC developed the Market Price Index with the Ministry of Commerce at the outset of the world financial crisis that emanated from the west; the chamber recommended tax relief on essential commodities, e.g. the annual executive order renewal of the 2.00 USD tax relief on rice; in 2009, the chamber held a national symposium on the theme: looking beyond the global financial crisis– the search for innovative solutions, the statement said.