The Liberian Business Association (LIBA-Liberia) and the United States chapter of the Liberian Business Association (LIBA-USA) have pre-launched a new business idea, "Put Liberia First Campaign," to encourage Liberian-owned business entrepreneurs to support each other.
Jackson George, executive director of LIBA-USA, who pre-launched the campaign, told a cross section of Liberian businesses that the campaign is also aimed at encouraging Liberians to support Liberian-owned businesses.
Mr. George said the "Put Liberia First Campaign" will serve as a promotion tool to encourage business owners to prioritize Liberian-owned businesses, as well as products created by Liberians, on the market.
At an elaborate meeting held yesterday in Paynesville by LIBA-Liberia and LIBA-USA, the executive director further said the interest of Liberian business institutions and entrepreneurs will "benefit from this unique opportunity that recognizes their efforts towards achieving quality."
In remarks, the president of LIBA-Liberia, David K. Sembeh, expressed frustration with the way Liberian businesses are treated.
"It is pitiful to note that there are perceptions out there that we Liberians are not patriotic citizens, not nationalistic, and not supportive, especially when it comes to business; and it is true, so this campaign is to conscioustize us to move forward.
"We want to set Saturday aside for this campaign and everyone here should serve as ambassadors out there and where Liberian businesses can feel the impact of other Liberians," he said.
However, Mr. Sembeh said the campaign is not intended to push out foreign counterparts, "we are not against them doing business in the country, but we want to make sure that Liberians take back their economy."
For her part, M. Leelai Kpukuyou, secretary general of LIBA-Liberia, urged Liberians to support Liberian owned-businesses.
"Go to a Liberian restaurant to eat, visit a dry cleaner, be able to get in touch with Liberian travel agencies, and construction companies wherever we can in order to support our own economy," she said.