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ABUSTLING ECONOMY is an offshoot of a good business environment that even makes it easier for more business competition – in the context of a hemorrhage of foreign and local investments fairly mingling together.

By simple rationality, the more businesses flourish, the more is government’s income, or a good economy leverages a positive national direction: jobs are created, citizens have engagements, government executes programs and projects, and then the nation is peaceful. While each government around the world is duty-bound to pursue policies that provide protection – good environment and level-plain field – for foreign investments, it is much more worthwhile for struggling economies such as Liberia. Creation of a good business environment, let it be made said with clarity, encompasses the security and peace of the state; rather it is also about mitigating actions/policies and programs such as the tax bottlenecks at times introduced.

ECONOMICALLY, LIBERIA AS a country has been struggling for a protracted period of time to remain in contention, apparently because policy-makers did not put in the right policies that would bring investments or maintain them on the ground. Above all odds, the economic collapse of the civil war and the Ebola plague defines Liberia’s standing. Perhaps this is why, in spite of the huge endowment of natural resources, much remains at stake and foreign investments which are the linchpin of economic growth seem to be caught between the ‘blue and red sea,’ having been threatened by both internal and external factors.

WHILE THE GOVERNMENT may not have control over the external factors that at times weigh heavily on the economy, it certainly does when it comes to internal factors. For example, government can create ‘breathing space’ for investments – foreign or local – by halting unfavorably ill-disposed actions. This, by extension, is to say that government has the facility to exercise restraint or prudence in imposing conditions or leveling taxes on goods and materials/equipment brought in by investors. We understand no government functions or succeeds in the absence of finances, but increment of taxes should be regarded as close-ended solution. If a company comes into the country for palm production, for example, there is nothing automatic about its gains/incomes. Income generation is not by the strike of the fingers, either is it by signing of a concession agreement. It has to start from crash at the expense of millions of dollars including payment of taxes on imported materials, let alone signature bonuses and cost of agreement.

IN OUR VIEW, it does not take a rocket scientist to understand the logic being presented here. If the Government thinks it cannot weather the harsh economic constraints brought to bear by so-called ‘global price decline’ of certain commodities, then these investments are not exempted. If palm oil is not of priority for countries like China and the US, how much the producers will generate to keep alive –running of factories, payment of salaries and other significant financial obligations? This is to say when the Liberian government is faced with financial constraints as a result of global circumstances, then foreign concessions feed the smidgeon the most also.

WE SAY THIS against the backdrop of the unfavorable conditions most foreign investments are enduing which by extensions are affecting everyone, mainly those who are directly employed with them. ArcelorMittal, Sime Darby, Maryland Oil Palm Plantation and Equatorial Oil Palm are foreign investments that are extremely feeling the smidgen of the global price crunch just as the government and have resorted to other actions to safe the investments from collapse. In contrast, the government has come down so hard with tax increment without helping the companies to find remedies to their constraints. For us, this is a form of ‘disservice’ against these entities’ interest. We are therefore obliged to call for the protection of investors’ interest as doing so is an economic incentive, and when the economy booms, Liberia flourishes.

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