The Liberian Business Association (LIBA) and Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) want the Liberian Government to intervene to stop the arbitrary increment in tariffs by APM Terminals and shipping companies operating in Liberia.
According to the Presidents of LIBA and LCC, James Strother and Wendell Addy, the management of APM Terminals has informed the public that due to the ever increasing cost of operations, it has become inevitable to increase its container handling charge by 10 percent to meet the demands of effective port operations.
Presidents Strother and Wendell made the disclosure Wednesday at a joint press conference in Paynesville outside Monrovia.
They indicated that the APM Terminals decision to increase tariffs periodically is supported by the 2010 Concession Agreement it has with the Liberian government which allows for yearly increment in tariffs.
They noted that if this is their reliance for continuously imposing indirect hardship on the Liberian people then it is unfair and unacceptable in contemporary Liberia.
Presidents Strother and Wendelll stressed that while they support foreign investments in Liberia to help stimulate the nation’s economic growth, they are not comfortable with the contents of some provisions in concession agreements which impose undue financial burden on local businesses and the Liberian people.
According to the two men, President George Manneh Weah has called for a review of all concession agreements with the Liberian government, noting that these reviews are still ongoing and, if so, the APM Terminals Concession Agreement should be fast-tracked and the provision which allows it to increase tariffs yearly be revoked as a matter of urgency.
They pointed out that the mandate given LIBA by an Act of the Legislature that created the association authorizes it to work in collaboration with the Government of Liberia and act as a catalyst for the development of indigenous businesses.
“Our concern over the increase in shipping and container handling tariffs is based on the fact that our members, though businessmen and women are also consumers of goods imported in this country and the effect of increased tariffs is being felt by them,” the LIBA and LCC officials observed.
Presidents Strother and Wendell want the government to see reason to act in the best interest of its citizenry and reduce the financial burden imposed on them by these “investors whom we consider as partners in progress.”