The Need For A Local Content Policy
THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR and acting head of the National Investment Commission (NIC) Mr. George Wisner says the Commission has embarked on a process leading to the development of a balance, but robust National Local Content Policy and Law. Mr. Wisner said such a policy and law will create market pull for Liberian goods and services and also help address human capital formation in the labor sector.
THE NIC ACTING Boss said already the NIC has established a multi-stakeholder Technical Working Group and Secretariat, comprising Government Agencies, development partners, business actors, and the civil society. Speaking recently at the launch of the Liberia Investment Consultancy and Advisory Associates Incorporated, Mr. Wisner extended an invitation to the group to join the process with the wealth of experience of its Directors.
THE NIC OFFICIAL said for those at the Commission, not excluding traditional mandates, have shifted their priorities for the next two years to collaborating with other inter-dependent agencies of government and private actors to strengthen the private sector.
WISNER SAID the NIC is initialing discussion with the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), National Bureau of Concession (NBC) and Liberia’s concessions to strengthen the nation’s business linkage program. “Specifically, we will be encouraging our concessionaires to help us understand their procurement plans over the next two or three years. This information will be utilized to generate self-discovery externalities for Liberian entrepreneurs,” Mr. Wisner disclosed.
HE FURTHER SAID the information will be used for expanding access to finance and capacitate Liberian businesses. The NIC acting head, who congratulated the Aureus Mining Company and Aminata for the recent signing of a five-year contract for fuel supply, said this is an initiative which the NIC hopes will be replicated with other firms.
HE DISCLOSED THAT the NIC has also begun talks with the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MoFDP) to revise the current incentive regime for Liberian businesses. Mr. Wisner said this is intended to lower the threshold for Liberian business under the investment code and noted that this is important to graduate many Liberian businesses from the informal to the formal sector.
INDEED FOR LIBERIANS to take charge of their economy which has been controlled by foreign nationals over the years there is a need to craft and if possible to legislate a robust national local content policy or law. Like other countries in our sub-region such a law will not only protect Liberians’ entrepreneurs but also help in strengthening the economic capacity.
WITH A LOCAL content policy, Liberians will also take center stage in the growth and management of the economy, speed up infrastructural development and be masters of themselves in an arena that has been dominated by foreigners for over a century. We hope the NIC will not make the crafting of such a policy the usual talking shops we continue to witness over the years, but make practical same for the good of Liberians who have been struggling to compete with foreigners in their own land.
A TRUE LOCAL content law will ensure that Liberian business entities are given priority and empowered by ensuring that they have access to finance which can stimulate the growth of indigenous industries.