“Liberian Businesses First”
-Weah Tells Business Community
President George Manneh Weah has again given assurances to Liberian-owned businesses of his government’s unflinching commitment and determination to creating an atmosphere conducive for its growth and development, and to partner with it to realize set goals.
The President made this remark when he spoke on Thursday, August 9, 2018 at the Liberia Business Association’s (LIBA) induction and honoring program held at the Monrovia City Hall. He acknowledged the strategic significance of the private sector to the government for the holistic economic transformation of the country, adding that the private sector remains a very important partner.
“We are of the strong conviction that the private sector is an important strategic partner to the government of Liberia, as we now begin the implementation of our economic master plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda for prosperity and development,” President Weah stated.
He noted: “It is often said that the private sector is the primary engine of growth and wealth creator in any economy; in recognition of this fact, government is determined to give priorities to sectors that work through meaningful and interactive engagements to achieve this goal”.
The Liberian leader reemphasized how Liberian businesses remain at the top of his government’s agenda to help create opportunities for a very strong Liberian private sector, in which both domestic and foreign investors will have opportunities for participation in the economy of Liberia.
President Weah said: “A vibrant private sector where both domestic and foreign investors can freely and fully participate in the economy will create an economy that offers more job opportunities for Liberians, especially our youthful population.”
He told the gathering of Liberian business executives that it was important for Liberian businesses to assume a meaningful participatory role in the Liberian economy.
The President mentioned the fact that Liberian businesses are not in domineering position compared to foreign-owned businesses; a situation he said his government would work to reverse by providing the necessary leverages that will enable them to compete and eventually become leaders in driving the economy.
“We must be frank that the private sector of Liberia is dominated by foreigners, almost to the exclusion of Liberian businesses, and this has been the situation for many decades,” President Weah recalled
The Liberian leader also recalled the strangulations businesses endure in acquiring loans from banks because of the general belief that they always default on paying their debts.
President Weah cited instances when he found it very tetchy to acquire loan from the bank when he was constructing chain of stores in the Paynesville, Red light Community.
The Liberia leader, however, admonished Liberian businesses to be truthful and to demonstrate the highest form of maturity in managing their businesses, adding put aside extravagance and profligacy.
“You cannot wear US$7,000 shoes when you borrow US$6,000 from the bank,” the President said in an effort to discourage business owners from showing off and bluffing at the detriment of their businesses.
“When you are doing business, don’t go above what you have invested in your business; some people will have US$5,000 dollars for business and will buy US$7,000 dollars shoes. If you want to succeed in business, you should learn how to control what you have. Liberians should not spend above their income and that is the best way you can succeed in business.”
President Weah also called on Liberian business owners not to mix business with politics because it has the propensity to cause strangulations and setback.
He said: “People should not mix business with politics because it has the ability to undermine the growth of your business. We all are Liberians and we have political interest and when the time comes for politics you can play your part as a Liberian and when it is time for business you focus on your business; but being active in business and at the same time being active in politics could make some government deny you opportunities.”
At the same time, President Weah has received LIBA first business leadership award, for the many contributions he is making toward the realization of the ‘Liberianization’ policy which aims to give Liberian businesses greater opportunities in their own economy.
LIBA’s award was also in recognition of President Weah’s commitment to uplifting and supporting the private sector of which Liberian businesses are integral part.
In a proclamation, LIBA detailed how it has been able to benefit from several opportunities, provided by government, including the provision of US$1 Million for empowerment of small businesses, among other commitments in the six months of Pres. Weah’s leadership.