Executive Mansion, Monrovia
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has congratulated the Prime Minister of Spain, His Excellency Rodriguez Zapatero, on the occasion of his re-election to the post of Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Spain.
In Foreign Ministry dispatch, quoted by the Executive Mansion, the President said “it gives me great pleasure to extend to you, on behalf of the Government and people of Liberia and in my own name, sincere congratulations and very best wishes.”
The Liberian leader expressed the hope that Mr. Zapatero’s tenure as Prime Minister will continue to be productive, visionary and marked by increased prosperity for the gallant people of Spain. President Johnson hoped that the harmonious and friendly relations which so happily subsist between Spain and Liberia will continue to grow from strength to strength.
In another development, president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf withdrew the Amendment of the Investment Incentives Act of 1973 in order to hold more public consultations with a series of stakeholders from the business community, private sector, academic institutions, members of the press, and civil society representatives. Consultations are scheduled during the month of March in order to present the merits of the Amended Act, which aims at ensuring an equitable business environment while empowering Liberian businesses.
The Ministry of State, in collaboration with various Government agencies such as the National Investment Commission (NIC), is spearheading newer rounds of consultations which began with representatives from the business community. The business community will reconvene on Wednesday, March 26 in the Cecil Dennis Auditorium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The second round of consultations will be held for members of the academic community on Tuesday, March 25 at 10 a.m. in the Auditorium of the University of Liberia. UL radio will broadcast the program live.
Because Government is committed to fostering dialogue, thereby opening up the democratic space, consultations are also being held to solicit constructive suggestions for improving the Act for resubmission to the Legislature. Government wants to stress that the Amended Act submitted to the Legislature is an attempt to ensure that the business environment is equitable, while also creating external mechanisms that will empower Liberian businesses, such as the Margin of Preference (MOP), which when finalized will reserve a percentage of Government contracts to Liberian owned businesses, and the Bob Johnson $30 million fund which will provide loans of up to $1 million USD to Liberian entrepreneurs.
Government recognizes that a vibrant private sector supported by direct foreign investment is crucial to rapid economic growth. It submitted the Amended Act to ensure consistency with international best practices; create a market based economy to encourage private enterprise through a transparent, equitable and non-discriminatory legal framework for investment; expand international trade relations; and broaden Liberia’s international economic cooperation.
Members of the press are invited to attend the Tuesday and Wednesday consultations with the academic and business communities, respectively.