Discloses plans for agribusiness activity
As Liberia yearns for investment opportunities to revive its struggling economy, James M. Strother, president of the Liberia Business Association (LIBA) says there is a need for the country to craft policies that will make foreign investors to prioritize partnership with local businesses in order to carry out investments.
Mr. Strother spoke recently at the Cassava Sector Coordination Committee’ meeting held at the Ministry of Agriculture in Gardnersville, outside Monrovia.
He said the law governing the World Trade Organization (WTO) that gives right to foreign investors to do businesses without local content must be looked at seriously if the business climate of the country will move forward.
Liberia is a signatory to the WTO but the LIBA president is of the opinion that the Legislature can be engaged to create a law that will suit the circumstances confronting local businesses.
According to him, the WTO law provides 100 percent right to foreign investors which makes them independent.
Liberia was admitted into the WTO in 2016, after the memorandum of foreign trade regime that was endorsed following several years of constructive engagement with relevant stakeholders during the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
“The way forward is for the country to craft a law that will ensure that foreign investors partner with local businesses. We can’t continue to allow them to dominate the market,” Strother said, adding that the government must provide loans for local businesses to build their capacities in order to compete with foreigners.
“Foreigners are also found doing businesses that belong to Liberians, which is making Liberians more vulnerable in their own economy. We must ensure that Liberian businesses are protected,” he stated.
Recalling President Weah’s promise that Liberians will not be spectators in the economy, Strother said: “This is a youthful administration that has promised change for the people. So we must work harder to change the lives of the citizens,” he said.
Meanwhile, the LIBA president has said that his institution has decided to venture in to agriculture to help address the country’s food crisis.
“We are interested in doing agriculture to contribute to food security and empower local farmers,” he said.
According to him, his organization will soon embark on the agriculture plan that will improve the living conditions of small scale farmers in Bong, Nimba and Lofa Counties. With LIBA’s agriculture market-driven strategy, the venture will be extended to other counties in the future.
“We are going to work with small scale farmers in the targeted counties to buy their produce and export them,” Strother said. “We will also provide them with inputs to enable them produce more for the market.”
He used the occasion to call on the leaders and members of the cassava sector, as well as small scale farmers across the country, to increase their productions, adding that his organization will support those actors in the sector.