Monday, March 3, 2008

Should Liberia set aside important business sectors exclusively for Liberians?

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recently withdrew a bill before the House of Representatives that would sets aside 26 business sectors exclusively for Liberians. In a statement, the President said she would like to consult members of the business community, civil society and citizens before going ahead with the proposed law. In 1988, the National Legislature passed a similar law, which set aside businesses in the sectors of gas stations, travel agencies and advertising agencies.

From Liberia Journal:

The Liberian business community, along with some whitewash politicians in Monrovia are accusing the President of pandering to foreigners, and that her bill is only meant to satisfy the international community who are interested in foreigners taking over the country’s business climate. They maintained that the government’s poverty reduction strategy will be meaningless if the government fails to protect the ‘Liberianization’ policy.

i am not against the Liberianization act, and the protection of Liberian businesses, however i would like to see some flexibility, these businesses can be set aside for Liberians, but there should be some criteria also set, that when met, by foreigners, they should be able to invest in those businesses. Take Ghana for instance, you cannot own a trading business in that country without investing at least US$300,000 dollars and employing a minimum of ten Ghanaians. That could be an example of a criteria that could be met, if foreigners want to engage in business set aside for only nationals of Liberia.

Simply put, some of the laws we have on the books, are out of dates, and just not Pratical for our times, take for instance again, the question of giving citizenship to people who are not of negro decent, Article 27 B of the the Liberian constitution reads in order to preserve, foster and maintain the positive Liberian culture, values and character, only people of negroes or of negro descent, shall qualify by birth or by naturalization to be citizens of Liberia.

I have always said the question of giving citizenship to other people who are not of negro descent is not only the right thing to do, but in terms of material and human development it also the sound thing to do.

No comments: