MONROVIA-President George Weah has called on the Judiciary Bench of Government to work together to re-brand Liberia through Impressive reforms and actions affecting the business climate in the country.
The Liberian Head of States said; “if the law is the problem, then let us reform the law. If the 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.”
These are the actions President Weah said they will expect to see following the Conference. I ask them for a stronger partnership as we aim to transform our business and investment climate.
He spoke at the commencement of the 4th National Judicial Conference upon the National Judicial Conferences of 1973, 1976 and 2010.
President Weah said those kind of conferences are important to assess the state of the nation’s judiciary, and to examine how the justice system and the rule of law are impacting our national polity indicating that it is his understanding that the Judiciary have dealt with a range of such legal issues over the last three days.
“It is also commendable that, on this Fourth day of the conference, you have also chosen to specifically assess how this power may be impacting businesses, corporations and investors noting the business and investment climate in Liberia has been a subject of great importance in recent years.”
He furthered; “Our drive to provide jobs for our people and to grow our economy by increasing the flow of both domestic and private investments are all dependent on the structure of our business climate.”
Weah mentioned that this structure depends on the body of laws and policies which we have in place to regulate the free flow of investments and commerce, the process and time it takes to resolve legal disputes arising from the application of these laws, and the sense or perception of justice that arises from this adjudication process.
According to him, the structure of Liberia’s business and investment climate has been his concern since taking office.
In October 2018, the Government established a Business Climate Working Group to look into ways of improving the business climate in Liberia.
He told the conference delegates that the series of workshops and meetings across the Government and with Development Partners and other stakeholders have identified key challenges affecting the business climate and opportunities for improving it.
These challenges according to him are largely summarized by the World Bank’s Doing Business Indicators, which include indicators such as: starting a business, getting electricity, getting credit, paying taxes, enforcing contracts, registering property, protecting minority investors, trading across border, and resolving insolvency.
Liberia ranks 175 out of 190 countries than its neighbor Sierra Leone ranks which 163 out of 190 and Cote d’Ivoire, and other neighbor, ranks 118 out of 190 countries. This, he claimed indicates that Liberia as a Government and country has some serious work to do.
Subsequently; President Weah said the Executive stands in partnership with the Judiciary as they seek to overhaul business processes and simplify them.
He further disclosed the appointment of a high-level Cabinet sub-committee on the investment and business climate.
This Committee he mentioned, 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.
“This cabinet sub-committee will be tasked to present a roadmap after this Judiciary Conference that will track the recommended actions and changes needed for improvement. The Committee will be required to present a report in six months to show credible progress on the business climate in a range of areas.”
He asserted that if businesses cannot get timely legal redress from the courts, or if contracts cannot be effectively or fairly enforced, we affect the investment climate. Adding “If commercial banks cannot enforce judgment on collateral when people default on their loans, these banks may not be able lend money into our economy.