TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Liberia: Cabinet endorses Liberia-US trade and investment forum

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Source: FrontPageAfrica

The Cabinet has unanimously endorsed the Liberia - US Trade and Investment Forum aimed at enhancing Liberia’s position in the global economy.  According to an Executive Mansion release, on Wednesday, September 9, 2015, the Cabinet gave its approval to a Liberia-driven Investment Trade Forum scheduled for September 16, 2015 in the United States of America. The Forum aims at buttressing government’s Economic Stabilization & Recovery Plan by attracting industrial investors in agriculture, agro-processing and other sectors.

It will also woo investors’ interest in rubber manufacturing, cocoa, fisheries, aquaculture, infrastructure, energy, gold, diamonds, rice and cassava. The Investment Forum comes on the heels of a 2014 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the National Investment Commission (NIC) and Developing Markets Associates (DMA).

It can be recalled Developing Markets Associates in 2010 and 2011 co-hosted two separate investment events for the NIC in the United Kingdom (UK). Direct tangible outcomes from the U.K. events included the establishment of Concession Agreements with Golden Veroleum-Liberia and Hummingbird Resources. Liberia will be represented by the National Investment Commission, Central Bank of Liberia, Ministries of Finance & Development Planning, Lands, Mines and Energy, Public Works, Agriculture, and Commerce and Industry. The African Governance Initiative will serve as Secretariat.

The Forum will bring together some 200 companies from around the world including 30 U.S-owned, the World Bank, UNDP and a host of international development partners.  Vice President Joseph N. Boakai will represent President Sirleaf at the Investment Forum.  On the question of Fiscal Year 2015/2016 Budget Execution Plan, Cabinet endorsed the plan, which largely reflected that the government’s fiscal position is in good shape.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet also endorsed the provision of quarterly allotments to key priority projects with the proviso that Sector Ministries will account for funding in a timely manner. Cabinet also approved a brainstorming roundtable meeting that will bring together Ministries and Agencies along with the PPCC to thrash sticky issues that could hinder the execution of procurement plans and stall service delivery.

Cabinet also received updates on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Project signing. Finance Minister said amid the pending Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) Law enactment, the signing was set for either October 7 or 8, 2015. MCC has agreed to apply the funding to cover the Government of Liberia’s contribution towards financing the Mount Coffee Hydro project.

Cabinet approved Vice President Joseph Boakai engagement with the National Legislature to expedite the passage of the LEC regulatory Act. In a related development, Cabinet has mandated Ministries, Agencies and Commissions to hold consultations with Liberian entrepreneurs in order to address the moribund of concerns expressed during a roundtable meeting held with President Sirleaf on September 4, 2015. 

Cabinet recognized that if the economy must grow it has to be driven by Liberians and called for the enforcement of the Small Business Act; requiring Liberian-owned businesses to get 25 percent of all would-be government awarded contracts. Amid further consultations pertaining to the salary reform of State-Owned-Enterprises, Cabinet has approved implementation commencing October 1, 2015. Cabinet has also mandated that all Ministries and Agencies that received funding under the banner of “July 26 Celebration” to submit a full report on allotment expended.

Similar position was taken mandating Ministries and Agencies that are indebted to the University of Liberia to make good their commitments for the smooth running of the institution. Cabinet took a decision to take short-term measures to give the main campus of the university a facelift pending the long-term plan to rehabilitate critical infrastructures on the UL campus. 

Also reviewed and sanctioned was astronomical rental associated with public buildings that are being leased at the expense of government. Cabinet resolved that a well-coordinated and priority-driven plan should inform the implementation of identifying suitable sites for the construction of Ministries, Agencies, and Commissions housed in private buildings over the next two years. All Ministries, Agencies, and Commissions with self-disbursing project funds are mandated to submit to independent audits under the supervision of General Auditing Commission. Cabinet could not deliberate the Road Fund due to the absence of Public Works Minister Williams Gyude Moore – as lead presenter.  

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