Liberia: Finance Ministry, Partners Brainstorm on Special Economic Zones (SEZ)/Staple Crops Processing Zones (SCPZ) Potential
MONROVIA – The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Tuesday held advanced talks with development partners and other agencies of government for the potential growth and development of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) / Staple Crops Processing Zone (SCPZ).
Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County, has been identified to roll out the Staple Crops Processing Zone (SCPZ) which is a subset of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ). The city is one of several areas already created by an act of legislation as Special Economic and Industrial Zones by government. The SCPZ will focus on agriculture, private sector investment, value chain development and domestic and export potentials.
Minister of Finance and Development Planning Hon. Samuel D. Tweah Jr., welcoming partners disclosed that it was important to identify practical project by developing a framework. He added that the EU has a private sector window, suggesting a medium through which investment could be made.
“The EU has a private sector window, and what we have to do is to roll out in a specific format of who does what with regards to development partner “Says Minister Tweah.
Also speaking, Deputy Minister for Economic Management Hon. Augustus J. Flomo expressed the need for resource mobilization and a roadmap which will spell out the involvement of each development partner. He said it is important for partners to provide expertise, regarding growth and development of the SEZ.
He informed partners of USAID commitment towards the feasibility study within Buchanan, when the exact amount of land is identified. He added that the SCPZ is also a commitment that is being delivered by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to enhance an export based economy and job creation under the government’s Pro Poor Agenda.
An economist at the World Bank Liberia Country Office, Daniel Boakye also said the SEZ goes beyond employment, because it will help diversify the economy and promote the growth agenda of the Liberian government.
In addition, Commissioner Ellen Pratt of Liberia Land Authority said choosing Buchanan for the SCPZ is because the area has competitive advantage as one of Several Economic Zones. Commissioner Pratt explained that lands have been set aside by government for special economic zones. She urged agencies of government to meet local authorities in Grand Bassa as part of efforts to identify the exact location of land for the SCPZ.
The meeting brought agencies and development partners including Ministries of Finance and Development Planning, Commerce, Liberia Revenue Authority, Liberia Land Authority. Others were World Bank, AFDB, Swedish Embassy, USAID and IDH among others.