New Investors Expected
-162Express interests From Across the world
The Chairman of Liberia’s National Investment Commission (NIC) Attorney Molewuleh B. Gray has clarified erroneous reports parading around that there have been ‘no new investments coming to Liberia’ since the coming to power of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led administration of President George Manneh Weah.
Speaking at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) regular Thursday Press Briefing at the Ministry’s conference Room yesterday, the NIC chairman stated that after due diligence of the applicants they have facilitated the visit to Liberia for follow-up discussions 51 business delegations from across the world including Africa.According to Attorney Gray, who has worked with the NIC for 10 years including serving as Executive Director, before being appointed NIC Chairman in September, 2018, the 162 potential investors that have expressed their interest to invest in Liberia is far higher compared to the 2016 and 2017 figures of 69 and 37 investment interests that were expressed respectively.
The NIC boss further stated that the 51 interested investors mainly came from America, Europe and the Middle East and they met with officials of the NIC and other relevant government institutions in order to further explore sectors of interest.
He added that: “investment interests have been expressed in almost all the sectors of the Liberian economy with energy accounting for 1% of the total interests, infrastructure 14%, agriculture 10%, financial projects 10% and the remaining myriad of other sectors accounting for 50%”.
Giving a report of NIC activities covering the period February to November, Mr.Gray reiterated that the government of Liberia has renegotiated three concession agreements that were recalled from the National Legislature upon the Review of the Special Presidential Concessions and Contracts Review Committee.
“The companies concerned are the Firestone Rubber Plantations company Inc, the Nimba Rubber Inc and the Liberia Traffic Management. Additionally two new agreements have been negotiated by the government of Liberia, namely the Golden-SIFCA, a joint venture between two existing oil palm concessions formed primarily to develop a USD$ Million of palm processing plant in Maryland County with a capacity of processing 80 tons of crude pal oil per hour, (that is 21,120 US gallons),” he said.
He averred that in addition three tenders are ongoing under the two stage procurement process as articulated under the Public Procurement and Concessions Act, and that these projects were initiated by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Liberia Revenue Authority as project sponsors respectively and after all the processes are followed, will be expected to be awarded within the next few months.
Attorney Gray observed that the NIC is focused on executing its mandate as provided in the 2010 Act of the National Legislature creating it, to among other things promote, attract and facilitate investments in Liberia affecting all sectors of the economy, and leading the way in the concession negotiation process and support the drive for creating the enabling environment for doing business in Liberia.
The NIC boss made it clear that not all investments that come to Liberia are channelled through the NIC, and figures of investment packages received only captures investment interests received from February to November 2018, adding that they are working on a full report of the NIC for 2018 and to publish the 2019 investors Guide as well as launch the NIC website. to be produced and made available to the public.
He said: Seven companies were granted the 5-year short-term investment incentives in 2018 with a total investment size of US$31.85 Million with approximately 700 jobs to be created while 9 applications are pending with an invest size of US$21 Million with a potential for 600 jobs to be created.
Dilating on the bids tender process which goes with the input of the Ministry of Commerce and the Liberia Revenue Authority, AttorneyGray stated that the bids being tendered include, destination inspection project, National single window and electronic fiscal device, adding that when completed, they will have a significant impact on key business indicators such as cross border trading, paying taxes as well as on the overall domestic revenue mobilization efforts of government.(By John L. Momoh).