Liberian Women Entrepreneurs Hold Dialogue to Share the Challenges of Doing Business in and out of Liberia 

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Monrovia – Women under the banner, of the Federation of Liberian Women Entrepreneurs (FEBWE) at a one-day dialogue held at the United States Embassy in Monrovia, highlighted the challenges they faced in doing business both in and out of the country.

From the business registration, to the acquiring of loans, including cross border trade, the women say they found so much difficulties in being an entrepreneur in Liberia.  

For most women, the issue of registration is a problem for them. According to them; the business registry process takes almost a year.

Some of the women disclosed that they were in a bailing process but later lost a contract after failing to present valid business registration.

They blamed poor reception, extra cost, and bribing as issues that are hindering their efforts of doing business in Liberia.

Brenda Moore is founder and executive director of Kids Educational Engagement Project (KEEP). She is also involved in agriculture.

Madam Moore disclosed that many people at the business registry are not employed by the entity. She explains: “I had to pay people who are not employed and if you deal with them sometime they lose your documents. Paying expediters is on the increase, if you don’t, your documents are going to stay long.”

Madam Moore added: “They misplaced documents and the extra cost is so bad. To get your documents faster you actually have to pay 50usd.”

Interest Rate on Loan is High

Also, Marian F.A. Cooper is a businesswoman that is involved in the sale of plane tickets. She operates the Destiny Travel Agency. The loan process from banks in the country, Madam Cooper says, is very frustrating.

“The interest rate is high and you have to start paying for the loan right after you take the loan. No training before taking the loan, people need to do the risk analysis and all of that before taking loans,” Cooper said.

Madam Cooper added: “The ticket in Liberia is more expensive and so people are buying tickets outside even the government officials are buying their ticket outside.”

Mai Urey was also in attendance. She said the issue of training for business women before taking out a loan is very important.

Madam Krubo Nwainokpor is involved in the selling of jewelry and handmade bags. She explains how she wanted to expand her business by taking loans but the loan officer was not fair to her and that caused a serious setback for her business.

“The guy who was helping me extended the time of the loan so that I can pay more. I wanted to expand my business. I even pay more than the money I took from the bank,” she said.

Madam Nwainokpor added: “I promise myself that I will not take a loan, I will work with the little I have. Also, the cost of doing formal business is higher, to keep the light, tax regulations.”

Also, Elizabeth Finda Sambolah, the Liberia Marketing Association President said there is not much time given to businesswomen to understand the conditions surrounding the loan.

“They can’t give you time to read the documents and the loan officer will make you sign the document. The loan that is given to people is a real problem. The banks are not helpful, the interest is too much and the time is short,” she said.

Sambolah added: “I went with my sister and she was taking US$50, 00, and the man giving her the loan says he wants USD2, 000. And they even told her to go to the insurance company. As we are taking the loan the businesses keep failing,”

No Safety in Cross Border Trade

The Liberia Marketing Association President also disclosed that there is no safety in cross-border trade. She also stressed the issue of the language barrier, the exchange rate, and other forms of harassment as issues that are hindering the smooth operation of cross-border trade.

“No safety in cross border trade, language, the issue of payments. Traveling with money is a problem. ECOWAS needs to do something about the borders. Security people and armed people usually harass people,” she said.

“ECOWAS trade was signed by heads of States but there is no monitoring, no regulations. You cannot leave Liberia and have your business enter other countries’ markets.”

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