Rebranding The Business Climate For Investment And Employment
PRESIDENT GEORGE MANNEH Weah, on Thursday, June 10, 2021 when he addressed the one-day National Business Conference, intermingled with the National Judicial Conference, being held at the Ministerial Complex from June 7—11, 2021, informed judicial professionals that his administration stands in partnership with the Judiciary as the legal professionals seek to overhaul business processes and simplify them. President Weah stated that, accordingly, he will shortly appoint a high-level cabinet sub-committee on the investment and business climate. The committee will be chaired by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, and will include the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Liberia Revenue Authority, the National Investment Commission, the Liberia Business Registry, the Liberia Electricity Corporation and other agencies, as may be necessary.
ADDRESSING THE NEED for more business investments and, therefore, employment, President Weah emphasized that creating difficult processes, procedures as well as making harsh laws as it relates to registering business, getting electricity and paying taxes have major consequences on the economy. He said if businesses cannot get timely legal redress from the courts, or if contracts cannot be effectively or fairly enforced, it affects the investment climate. Investors would not want to operate in such an environment.
“IF THE LAW is the problem, then let us reform the law. If processes and systems are the problem, let us change those processes. If the lack of funding is a problem, let us find ways to provide more resources. If certain people are the problem because, for selfish motives, they stand in the way of fair and transparent processes, then let us kick those people out of our systems to improve our investment and business climate,” President Weah hit the nail on the head.
PRESIDENT WEAH TOLD his audience that the structure of the county’s business and investment climate has been his concern since taking office. He disclosed that in October 2018, the government established a Business Climate Working Group to look into ways of improving the business climate in Liberia. The series of workshops and meetings across the government and, with development partners and other stakeholders, identified key challenges affecting the business climate and opportunities for improving it.
THE PRESIDENT THEREFORE called on the Chief Justice, Associate Justices, judges and members of the Judiciary to work along with the Executive in rebranding Liberia through impressive reform and actions affecting the business climate of the country. President Weah was speaking in the face of the World Bank’s Doing Business Indicators, which include starting a business, getting electricity, getting credit, paying taxes, enforcing contracts, registering property, protecting minority investors, trading across border and resolving insolvency.
“IN THIS REGARD, I am informed that Liberia ranks 175 out of 190 countries, that our neighbor Sierra Leone ranks 163 out of 190 and that Cote d’Ivoire, our other neighbor, ranks 118 out of 190 countries. This indicates that we as a government and country have some serious work to do. Today at this Conference, you the Judiciary will be looking at your contribution to changing these numbers through the application of the law, in key areas such as enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, getting credit.”