Monrovia – Axel Addy, outgoing Minister of Commerce and Industry, has called on President George Weah to appoint Economists and technocrats at the ministry because “the Ministry needs Economists”.
At his official turning over of authority to his successors, Professor Wilson Tarpeh, Addy said his administration worked over the years to transform the ministry from a political entity into a technical entity.
“We spent a lot of energy trying to build the Ministry of Commerce as a technical ministry and not a political ministry."
"You do need economists and strategic analysts that are able to sit in the international arena to make a case for Liberia,” he said.
“There are a lot of young people who have worked in Geneva that have returned to this ministry. This ministry is a home for the economists.”
He also encouraged his successor and the new President to buy and build Liberia if they choose Liberalization by “buying and putting Money in the pockets of local business people”.
He said no matter how small government budget is; it has given Liberians a right to 25% of goods and services.
“Where we failed is to convince the Ministry of Finance to set up a special window to pay Liberians businesses on time and to convince the Liberian Revenue Authority (LRA) to extend the tax clearance from three months to six months and eventually one year this if successful would drive the inclusive growth we all aspire to achieve.
“We also embarked on a journey of regaining Liberian position in international trade; this team was able to condense what has being a 10 to 12 year endeavours in 502 days the fastest accession of a country,” he said.
Addy has served Minister of Commerce and Industry during the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf regime since April 2013.
During his tenure, he redirected the ministry’s core function to: investment diversification beyond extractive industries to include investment in agriculture and tourism; empowering small and medium enterprises to formalize and improve their access to market, finance and capacity development opportunities; industrial promotion in agriculture for food security with emphasis in agro processing and value addition; and integration in the world economy through regional and multilateral trading systems.
Prior to joining government, Mr. Addy was Liberia’s representative to the Populations Services International, a leading social marketing health organization, where he served as the founder of the Liberia platform managing a multi-million dollar portfolio. He served in that capacity for four years.
In his takeover speech, the new minister, Wilson Tarpeh, said his administration will operate on four principle pillars which would include: the empowerment, defense, and promotion of Liberian businesses.
Tarpeh assured his administration would improve the quality of goods and services prioritize attention to Lab for quality control and the construction of industry.
“We will pay serious attention, to the lab and ensure that those players in the market that require going through that standard lab so as to determine what comes in are of the best quality we will ensure to do that,” he said.
“We will ensure the construction of manufacturing industries and built on integrity, unfortunately, most of what the Public know about this ministry is distorted.
We are not unaware of resistance from very powerful sources but there are three things in our favor, we will work as a team of young people ready to be tested and we have the political will but we will be orderly and the most important thing is to serve the Liberia people, he said.
“… We know when changes occurred people have the tendency to cause split, I can assure you that in the coming days there will be changes for the good of productivity and as leader of this team you don't have to make me your friend but we must work for the benefit of the country.”