The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has embarked on a process of enforcing the 2010 Investment Act, which set aside certain businesses exclusively for Liberians and others for foreigners. Deputy Commerce Minister for Public Affairs, Rufus Neufville, told reporters on Tuesday that the focus is on absolute Liberian ownership of local businesses.
He said Liberians are encouraged to venture into businesses such as sand mining, block making, peddling, travel agencies, retail sale of rice and cement, ice making and sale of ice, tire repair shops, and auto repair shops with the investment of less than US$50,000.
Other businesses also in this category include petroleum filling stations, video clubs, operation of taxis cabs, importation and sale of second-hand clothes or used clothes distribution, locally manufactured products and importation and sale of used cars, amount others.
Mr. Neufville said the Investment Act also has a second category of businesses that deals with foreign ownership in Liberia, saying that for foreigners to exclusively own businesses here, they must have a total investment of over US$500,000.
He said where such listed enterprises are owned by non-Liberians in partnership with Liberians, the aggregate shareholding of Liberians must be at least 25% of the total investment or not less than US$300,000.
The Commerce spokesman said the law recognizes businesses under this description such as production and supply of stone and granite, ice cream manufacturing, commercial printing, advertising agencies, graphics and commercial artistic, cinemas, production of poultry and poultry products, operation of water purification or bottling plant, excluding production and sale of water in sachets.
Others are entertainment centers not connected with hotel establishment, sale of animal and poultry feed, operation of heavy duty trucks and bakeries as well as sale of pharmaceuticals.
Mr. Neufville disclosed that the ministry has set up a taskforce to work with relevant institutions in bringing violators of these regulations to book. He emphasized that the ministry will meticulously uphold the Liberianization objectives of the government.