President George Manneh Weah, in his quest to give relief and hope to local business owners, has revealed that the government is working with the United States Government through the united States Agency for International Development (USAID) to give out $10 million US dollars under the COVID-19 cash transfer program to local business owners.
The fund will benefit 85,000 business owners, including petty traders, market women and other vulnerable Liberians trading in the informal economy.
To avoid fraud, corruption and duplication of payments, the government has agreed to underwrite the cost of providing biometric identification cards to the beneficiaries. “The distribution of the Government’s US$2 million will greatly benefit the enrollment under the USAID supported program, since it may avoid duplication of payments to the same individuals,” President Weah added.
The world Bank 2020 report on ease of doing business states that there is a huge decline in businesses as compared to 2019, ranking Liberia at 175, from 174 in the previous year’s report.
According to the President, the COVID-19 cash distribution will also benefit healthcare workers and private school teachers.
“Government has also provided US$1 million to the Ministry of Education for private school teachers throughout Liberia. This payment is through a digital platform and is presently ongoing,” President Weah added. “The expenditure of these resources, which is aligned with the Government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, will be critical in supporting growth and transformation across key sectors of our country.”
The current state of the economy has left many business owners with complaints of decline in daily sales and more sellers than buyers, among other challenges.
The report targets reforms implemented by countries in the sub-Saharan region to ease constraints in doing business. The regional average ease of doing business score was 51.8 on a scale of 0 to 100, below the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) high-income average of 78.4 and the global average of 63.0.
The report took into consideration the number of procedures, time, cost and paid-in minimum capital requirement for a small- to medium-sized limited liability company to start up and formally operate in each economy’s largest business city. However, Liberia scored favorable points in this section – 88.9 points out of 100.
Liberia is at the bottom in the region when it comes to registering a property for business. With a score of 31.9, Liberia is ranked 180 of the 190 countries. Rwanda is ranked third in this category with a score of 93.7. The regional average score for registering property is 53.6.
When it comes to protecting minority investors, Liberia is the least in the Sub-Saharan region. In this segment, Doing Business ranks Liberia 176. The score here is 22.0. The regional average is 38.5. Kenya is doing well here, with a score of 92.2 and ranks number one of the 190 countries. Ghana follows with a 60.0 score and ranks 72.