Monrovia - Touring businesses in Nimba and Bong Counties, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Axel Addy, said he’s on a mission to enhance trade for Liberian owned businesses, saying his visit is meant to understand the prospects and challenges in the two counties.
Despite the harsh reality of high tariffs being imposed by the government, many Liberian owned businesses are defying the odds to keep afloat.
“Every year, we visit various counties to know those things that the ministry can improve on in order to enhance trade for our business people, because we want them to grow and start to do business at a large scale. We also educate and encourage them to be tax compliant,” Addy said.
During the engagement, high taxes and the infiltration of foreigners into businesses set aside for Liberians dominated the discussions.
A merchant from Ganta, Prince Dorkie, thanked the Minister Addy and his team for meeting with the business community, adding that most often it is Monrovia based businesses who are prioritized.
Dorkie said Ganta has lot of potentials in commerce, adding that with support from the national government, business will improve.
“We are praying for such meeting to continue for us to be able to directly speak to the man responsible for the business people in this country. For me this will help solve some of the problems we are facing.”
Responding, Minister Addy promised to help remove some of the barriers hindering businesses, adding that he will work with his colleagues in solving those problems that the Ministry is unable to handle by itself.
He furthered that the Ministry of Commerce will work other government ministries and agencies in addressing their challenges.
The business community complained of substandard goods on the market, huge payment of taxes, purchasing of rotten fish from wholesalers in the counties, increase of the foreign exchange rate.
But Addy said having adequate access to foreign exchange was cardinal for the growth of Liberian businesses, adding the government will continue to work with Liberian businesses to ensure their growth.
“CBL is working to bring some level of stability in the exchange rate as the issue of foreign exchange remains cardinal.”
Minister Addy thanked Liberians small and medium Enterprises owners for their contribution to the country.
“I’m proud of Liberian entrepreneurs. We have a young man today coming from the United States and opening a factory and employing Liberians,” he mentioned.
“We are encouraging all of our SMEs from the leeward counties to showcase their product at the Nancy Doe market in Sinkor, because we believe in made in Liberia product. We are very proud of what we see in the industrial sector, including chalk factory.”
Addy said awarding contracts to Liberians keeps money in the economy, saying that 25% of government’s purchase of goods and services should be from Liberian businesses.
“The SBA (Small Business Act) is intended to assist, promote and foster the interests of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) by ensuring that they receive their fair share of procurement contracts for the provision of goods and services to the government,” Addy said.
“A chalk producer has received her first contract from the Ministry of Education (MOE) to provide chalk for schools and has now engaged into employing people. These are the signs that tell people that Liberia is improving and will continue to do more,” He continues.
The Commerce Minister said with the constant supply of electricity and paved road from Monrovia to Ganta, many businesses can thrive.
During the MOCI’s visit to Ganta, the team crossover to gauge the views of the Guinean authorities and briefly observed firsthand the movement of business people crossing over to Liberia.
Minister Addy said he was pleased with the level of trade existing between the two countries.
“We want to applaud you for the collaboration given to our business people and Liberia security which demonstrates excellent leadership and commitment to fostering peace,” Addy said.
He praised the cordial working relationship between Liberian and Guinean authorities at
The Minister was accompanied by his deputies, including Franz C. Sawyer, Deputy Minister for Administration, Stephen Marvie, Deputy Minister for Trade, Andrew Paygar, Deputy Minister for SBA, Mohammed Turay, Assistant Minister for Industry and Stephen Mambu, manager, National Standards Lab among others.