Officials of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) , who were elected recently by their colleagues, have been sworn into office by the British Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. David Belgrove at a well organized program held early this week at the Monrovia City Hall in Monrovia.
Those sworn in include the President of the LCC President Mr. Wendell Addy and members of the Executive Council, as well as Heads of Trade Association, took an oath of service before Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh at the Monrovia City Hall last Tuesday.
During the swearing in ceremony, Ambassador Belgrove called upon the leaders to continue with the cooperation they have always had if they are to develop the business climate.
Shortly after the swearing in, LCC president Addy said the Chamber is “the pillar” of the business community.
“We must position ourselves to lead and transform the economy to deliver jobs, wealth, and development for a sustainable, vibrant economy which will enhance peace and stability in our country,” said Addy.
He said as government and business leaders, “We must acknowledge that sustained peace and stability of a nation is dependent upon real economic participation; that is, ownership of a piece of the pie. We welcome the PAPD and the profound message delivered by Minister Samuel Tweah at the launch of the PAPD.”
Mr. Addy continued, “Our first priority is the De-Risking of the Private Sector, to strengthen our foundation and support us in our quest for a predictable business environment.”
He said the process entails political and investment insurance risk coverage for domestic and foreign direct investors, attractive work and residence permits; time-sensitive processing of documents across government agencies; attractive investment and tax policies, inclusive of time-sensitive redress in the event of dispute or request for classification; harassment-free business environment, working with government agencies, business conflict resolution through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Arbitration, and a reliable workforce, whether skilled and unskilled.
Addy used the occasion to congratulate President Weah and his lieutenants, along with partners who contributed to the development and launch of the PAPD. “We also acknowledge the commitments of our representatives in the government, Wilson K. Tarpeh, who has to drive the agenda for the growth of the private sector,” he added.
“Today, all of us in this room are part of our newly approved Proactive Agenda for development and progress. We urge you to join us during Chamber meetings, serve on committees, participate and be heard on trending issues affecting the business environment. Together, we, as members of LCC, speak with one voice regardless of our membership or affiliation in any purposed business or social association. We must proffer the interest of business and the economy for the common good of all,” he said.
He said they may not have the solutions to the current challenges; however, Addy believes in the strength of the collective, cohesive and strategic partnerships with the leading business associations represented by and through the Chamber.
“Let us begin by challenging our government to be in partnership with the business and investment community in a manner which creates an enabling, stable, and predictable business environment; after all, we are the key implementing partner/driver of the PAPD,” Addy told the business community.
He further called on the business community to advocate for the justice system to be transparent and consistent in the execution of the laws and to provide reasonable adjustments to systems that are not working for the good of the private sector.
He said it is imperative that the government, through the justice system, honors all commitments with the international community and investors.
Addy said the Chamber is here to stand as the voice of the business community, to negotiate or mediate. “Today, we champion you, our members, as part of our Pro-Active Agenda to invest in local manufacturing which will expand our local economy, create jobs and stimulate growth,” he said.
“We continue to request the investment community to stand with us as our strategic partner and fully participate in setting the agenda going forth,” he added.
Commerce Minister Prof. Wilson Tarpeh said the Liberia Chamber of Commerce is an important angle for the government. “We see you as a principal institution with which we can work with as a government because we believe that the private sector is an engine of growth,” he said.
Minister Tarpeh assured LCC executives of his fullest support and, as a government, especially the Ministry of Commerce, they will work with them.
“We see you as the first point of contact in the business community; we see you as our reason of being and so whatever is a problem we will work with you, when there is no problem we will sit together and we believe that together we can make this country a better place,” he said.