The standard bearer of the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), Dr. J. Mills Jones, has unveiled the party's blueprint, saying the economy under his government will be the wellspring for other improvements, including, but not limited to the provision of better social services and improved economic infrastructure, if he is elected President next Tuesday.
Addressing journalists yesterday at his Congo Town office, the party's national chairman, Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, who unveiled the platform, said the party's contract with the Liberian people is categorized under three pillars: Economic Transformation and Infrastructural Development; Empowerment of Liberians; and Job Creation.
"Our platform is based on these general principles that form the heart and soul of MOVEE. The party represents the wind of change, putting forth new faces with new ideas and a track record of patriotic performance that continues to positively impact the lives of the Liberian people," he said.
"October 10 presents an opportunity for a meaningful change - an opportunity for Liberia's Poverty Doctor, Dr. Joseph Mills Jones; Father of the Zogos, Rev. Dr. Samuel B. Reeves, Jr.; and MOVEE to give Liberia back to the Liberian people."
Under its economic transformation, Kemayah said the party will realign the Liberian economy by moving away from a focus on the extractive industry to the introduction of the production of goods and services as a priority.
"We will introduce the Liberian economy to small-scale manufacturing, utilizing our resources, including, but not limited to rubber, iron ore and logs. Priority areas will be identified and appropriate incentives will be developed to attract investors."
He said a MOVEE led Administration will encourage Liberians in the Diaspora to invest in these areas. To encourage that, the government will launch a Diaspora Liberians Investment Risk Management Program.
He said the goal of the program will be to attract investment from Diaspora Liberians who are not only interested in investing in Liberia, but are also concerned about future political risks in the country.
Under the program, the government will provide international insurance coverage against political risk and pay the premium on these policies for ten years, he said, adding, "A MOVEE government will focus on the following as part of its Economic Plan and Development Agenda: Value addition to raw materials that create job opportunities for the Liberian people, both foreign and domestic investments will be encouraged, understanding that all investors can win in an economy based on policies that promote balanced and inclusive economic growth."
Within the banking sector, Kemayah said there will be no new licensing of commercial banks in Liberia that lack a majority or mass-based Liberian ownership; and there will be no new licensing of insurance companies in Liberia without at least a fifty percent (50%) Liberian ownership.
The laws that set aside businesses for Liberians only will be strictly enforced, he said. Non-Liberians currently in those businesses will be grandfathered for a period of two years, effective from the first (1st) day of the administration, after which they must transition out of those businesses reserved for Liberians by the end of that two year period, he added.
He said any Liberian found to be facilitating the circumvention of the Liberalization Law will be drastically dealt with.
The Liberian Investment Code will be revisited; monopolies and monopoly related practices will be broken and areas like warehousing, particularly at the Freeport of Monrovia, which stifles competition for Liberian owned businesses, will be addressed, he furthered.
"A MOVEE led Administration does not see our marketers continuing to be subjected to a lifetime of selling produce which is imported by foreigners. MOVEE believes that it is time to empower our marketers to become importers and import the produce they sell. This will ensure that the wholesale profits are retained by the structures of the Liberia Marketing Association all across the country and the retail profits can be retained by marketers. This initiative on the part of A MOVEE led Government will move the Liberia Marketing Association to become a more professional organization that can address the essential needs of the markets, including improving the structures and services within the markets," he stated.
Kemayah also unveiled the party's program on the empowerment of teachers and healthcare workers; women's economic empowerment program; and catering to the marginalized, disadvantaged and persons with disabilities in the Liberian society.