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While President Weah Assures Liberian Business People …

While President Weah Assures Liberian Business People …

President Bio Killing Local Businesses With Heavy Taxation

Many businesses in Sierra Leone, are folding up almost on a daily basis as a result of the unprecedented tax increase made by the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) Government of President Julius Maada Bio.

Since coming to power a little over 6 months ago, business people and their businesses are being hit by heavy taxation from Bio’s SLPP Government. This has now led to many businesses folding up in the country as they can no longer meet up the unnecessary tax burden the government is subjecting them to.

Even the mining companies, which were in abundance during the past regime, with the exception of Koidu Holdings, have all folded up as a result of the unfriendly business environment created by the SLPP Government. Businesses such as Merani & Sons, another Supermarket in Bo, Sharkerdas outlets shops in Bo and many other businesses have all been closed down because of the heavy taxes meted out to them.

This turn out of events has not only left thousands of Sierra Leoneans jobless, but also resulted in the hyper inflation of commodities that is making life miserable for Sierra Leoneans.

On the other hand, Bio’s Liberian counterpart, President George Weah has given assurance to Liberian-owned businesses of his government’s unflinching commitment and determination to creating an atmosphere conducive for its growth and development, as well as partnering with it to realize set goals.

President Weah acknowledged the strategic significance of the private sector to the government for holistic economic transformation, and indicated that the private sector remains a very important partner.

“We are of the strong conviction that the private sector is an important strategic partner to the government of Liberia, as we now began the implementation of our economic master plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda with prosperity and development,” President Weah stated.

The President spoke Thursday, August 9, 2018 at the Liberia Business Association’s (LIBA) induction and honoring program held at the Monrovia City Hall.

He noted: “It is often said that the private sector is the primary engine of growth, and wealth creator in any economy; in recognition of this fact, government is determined to give priorities to sectors that work through meaningful and interactive engagements to achieve this goal”.

The Liberian leader reemphasized how Liberian businesses remain at the top of his government’s agenda to help create the opportunities for a very strong Liberian private sector in which both domestic and foreign investors will have fare opportunity of participation in the economy of Liberia.

President Weah said: “A vibrant private sector where both domestic and foreign investors can freely fully participate in the economy will create an economy for more job opportunities for Liberians, especially our youthful population.”

He told the gathering of Liberian business executives that it was important for Liberian businesses to assume a meaningful participatory role in the Liberian economy.

The President bewailed the fact that Liberian businesses are not in domineering position compared to foreign-owned businesses; a situation he said his government would work to reverse by providing the necessary leverages that will enable them to compete and eventually become leaders in driving the economy.

We must be frank that the private sector of Liberia is dominated by foreigners almost to the exclusion of Liberian businesses and this has been the situation for many decades,” President Weah recalled.

The Liberian leader also recalled the strangulations businesses endure in acquiring loans from banks because of the general belief that they always default on paying their debts.

President Weah cited instances when he found it very difficult to acquire loan from the bank when he was constructing chain of stores in the Paynesville, Redlight Community.

The Liberia leader, however, admonished Liberian businesses to be truthful to themselves and demonstrate the highest of maturity in managing their businesses by putting aside extravagance and profligacy.

“You cannot wear US$7,000 shoes when you borrow US$6,000 from the bank,” the President said in an effort to discourage business owners from showiness and bluff at the detriment of their businesses.

“When you are doing business, don’t go above what you have invested in your business; some people will have US$5,000 dollars for business and will buy US$7,000 dollars shoes. If you want succeed in business, you should learn how to control what you have. Liberians should not spend above their income and that is the best way you succeed in business.”

President Weah also called on Liberian business owners not to mix business with politics because it has the prospective to cause strangulation and setback for them.

He said: “People should not mix business with politics because it has the ability to undermine the growth of your business. We all are Liberians and we have political interest and when the time comes for politics you can play your part as a Liberian and when it is time for business you focus on your business; but be active in business and be active in politics could make some government deny you the opportunities.”

At the same time, President Weah has received LIBA first business leadership award, for the many contributions he is making toward the realization of the Liberianization policy aims to give Liberian businesses greater opportunities in their own economy.

LIBA’s award was also in recognition of President Weah’s commitment to the uplift and support to the private sector of which Liberian businesses are integral part.

In a proclamation, LIBA detailed how it has been able to benefit from several opportunities including the provision of US$1 Million for empowerment of small businesses, among other commitments in the six months of his leadership.

Sierra Leoneans are therefore calling on the Bio administration to copy the good works of his Liberian counterpart by putting in place policies that are business friendly. 

By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara

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