Commerce and Industry Minister Wilson Tarpeh has vowed that under the pro-poor government of President George Weah will spare no effort in building the capacity of Liberian-owned businesses and enforcing the Liberianization policy.
Minister Tarpeh spoke at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism’s (MICAT’s) regular press briefing on Friday in Monrovia and noted that he will ensure that those businesses that are set aside for Liberians remain with them and foreigners that are involved will be removed, to protect the Small Business Enterprises (SMEs).
He said the SMEs division at the Ministry of Commerce is organizing a training program that will educate small business owners in the area of record keeping, money management and how to manage businesses to help them pay when they credit money to invest in their businesses.
“We will train them to be able to pay back when they credit money to invest in their businesses so that they can be able to receive additional support for their businesses,” Minister Tarpeh said.
He said most of what went on in the past economy was trading, leaving the manufacturing sector out, making it difficult for the economy.
“Trading is not bad, it is just that in our case the level of import is high and in excess of what we export. When you do that you do not only undermine the capacity to create jobs but also run into balance of payment problems on debt,” he said.
Minister Tarpeh said the Ministry will provide business loans and give small businesses a longer time to repay because it will help their businesses to grow.
He said the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is one of the important institutions of Government that has an impact on all Liberians and therefore he will make sure Liberians leave the bench as spectators and take ownership in managing their own economy.
Minister Tarpeh said President Weah’s mandate to the Ministry of Commerce is to ensure that the quality of goods in the market meet international standards and prices are affordable to the people.
The Commerce Minister said he will make sure that those goods that are entering the country are tested and that they meet international standards before being brought into the country.
“In order to do this the Ministry has decided to build on the efforts of its predecessor in building the national standards laboratory where most of the resources are going to be used to test quality products,” he said.
Minister Tarpeh said his administration will have inspectors to make sure that goods brought into the country meet the required standards and that they are priced accordingly, to make them affordable for Liberians.
“We are asking every player on the market to play according to the rules that have been established by law,” Minister Tarpeh said.