THE MESSAGE FROM the protesting Liberian entrepreneurs has been emphatic, even before they embarked on their three days protest that saw the closure of stores and market places across Monrovia and its environs.
THESE LIBERIAN BUSINESS owners under the banner, Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PETAL), want the Government of Liberia to take some actions which will provide a better condition for commercial activities to continue.
THE BEGINING OF THREE DAYS protest which was highlighted with a petition statement on the grounds of the Capitol, called on the Legislature to address several issues ranging from the imposition of high tariffs on goods imported in Liberia, the constant fluctuation of the United States dollars rate, and the police constant harassment of petty traders.
THE PROTESTERS, in their petition presented to the Legislature last week, called for the classification of Liberian businesses in a specific group among the four categories of tariffs, to enable them pay flat rate tax of 0% - 5% tax on all goods imported in Liberia.
THAT PROTEST HAS COME and gone, but the government has not said anything, done anything and continue to allow the market condition to sort things out at the detriment of low income earners and Liberian businesses.
THIS ‘AWAIT AND SEE’ attitude of the Liberian government is ridiculously unbearable and has the tenacity of sparking socio-economic crisis, as was in the case of the three days protest and the situation may worsen if continue to play laissez Faire.
THE PROTESTERS HAVE AGAIN warned the government to make interventions or else they will hold the economy hostage, but we yet to see any significant move by the government.
"WE ARE ONLY TEMPORARILY cutting off the protest to allow our people buy food and keep it in their homes. As you know the protest took people unaware and more people didn't buy food, so we will open our stores and businesses and allow our people to put food in their homes before we start our Plan ‘B’. Our plans are not to suffer the people; we are economy liberators fighting for our economy," said Presley Tenwah, the Chairman of PATEL.
WITH SUCH WARNING, it is time for government to go back to the drawing board and rethink some of the decisions that are crippling these Liberian owned businesses.
IMPOSING MORE TARIFF to meet up with a lofty national budget only to pay government officials hefty salaries should not be at the disadvantage of a already poor and struggling masses. This is disdainful and lacks sense of care on the part of a government that has the constitutional responsibilities to seek the welfare of its citizens.
BLAMING ALL THE ILLFATED economic decisions on the prevailing global economic situation is absolutely ridiculous! Why didn’t government prepare for a Plan B when the prices of our major exports were pretty good on the world market? This administration spent huge on travels with business class air tickets, splashes millions of flashy SUVs and paid massive salaries to top officials.
WE THINK SPENDING some of those wasted resources on developing and improving an agricultural based economy could have adverted the current wows and sustain a Liberian owned economy. Sadly, the economy is now crumbling and the government is again paying deaf ears to its own citizens.
WE ARE WARNING, there might be more devastating impact if the government refuses to listen to these aggrieved Liberian business owners. The same government must have in mind that taxes are paid by businesses only if they operate – this means the more businesses are obstructed or halted, the less tax they pay, especially when the fault is not theirs. This means, these looming second protests by PATEL will have a pinch on the collection of revenue to complement the national budget.
THE TIME IS NOW RIGHT for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the honorables at the Capitol to listen to these Liberian business owners in order to savage our already dwindling economy.