Liberia’s Low Ranking Not Really Surprising

Liberia’s Low Ranking Not Really Surprising

The Editor, It's no surprise to see Liberia ranked among the worst countries to do business.  Liberia is bad news for business! (Re "Liberia Ranks 174 in World Bank Doing Business Report")

Business Bad News #1: Price Controls. Despite the disastrous history of price controls, going all the way back to the days of the Roman Empire and ancient Babylon, the economically illiterates in the Liberian government continue to misuse their Police power to set prices of other people's private property (rice, pepper, bitter balls, okra, taxi fares, etc) in order to make it AFFORDABLE! Affordable, my arse...

But what do you think happens when the economically illiterates in the government set the price of someone else's goods and services below the market price? If you say that person will take his goods and services elsewhere to seek better returns, go to the head of the class!  You're a genius!

In other words, if the Government of Liberia, through its price control policy, requires that all merchants must sell their rice for US$50 in Liberia, and in Sierra Leone, that same bag of rice was selling for US$150 (market price), most merchants will take their goods (rice) to Sierra Leone, where they can get better returns on their sale.

Couldn't you do the same thing too?  I'd leave Liberia like yesterday!  But guess what happens after that? Rice "shortages!" (in Liberia) will soon follow!!! As you can see, Liberia's business climate would be far better off without price controls!

So how about eliminating the entire Price Control Division at the Ministry of Commerce? I don't think anybody in the business community would miss them! Would you?

Business Bad News #2: Hefty Registration Fees imposed on Money Exchangers: In July 2012, the economically illiterates at Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) imposed a hefty registration fees (US$1,500) on Money Exchangers to solve the "high exchange rate problem".

But did the hefty registration fees solve our "high exchange rate problem"??  Please!

But unintended negative consequences of CBL registration fees (US$1,500) prove disastrous for young entrepreneurs like Melvin Eskill and Bia Williams (small foreign exchange business owners) who can least afford it. (Re" CBL Wants Us Out of Business: Money Exchangers Decry Registration Fees" Frontpageafricaonline).

Is that the way to help young aspiring entrepreneurs??  Please..

The cost of complying with these license laws, such as this hefty registration fee imposed by CBL, have caused many aspiring young entrepreneurs to closed down their business (foreign exchange bureau) because they can least afford it.

Business Bad News #3: Ban imposed on Motorbike Taxis: In November 2013, the Liberian National Police, in its infinite wisdom, began enforcing a ban on privately-owned motorbike taxis (phen-phen), the main mode of transportation in Monrovia, to make the streets of Monrovia safer!

They say it's all about safety!

But how many persons did the ban safe?  Nobody knows. But guess what were the unintended consequences of the ban?

Because of the government's ban, 12,000+ young entrepreneurs lost their ONLY source of income! They had to shut down their motorbike business!

Never underestimate the stupidity of the Liberian National Police!

But here's the kicker: Youth unemployment is a major threat to the peace and stability of our country, but the gasbags in our government insist on enforcing these economically disastrous regulations that benefit a few and hurt many young aspiring entrepreneurs.

Getting rid of these economically disastrous regulations will not only reduce youth unemployment, it would encourage entrepreneurship, and improve the overall business climate in our country!

Martin Scott,
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Atlanta, Georgia