Liberia Chambers of Commerce (LCC) president, N. Oswald Tweh says the LCC in conjunction with the Ministry of Labor, is in the process of jointly initiating a project for the employment of college graduates at Liberian businesses, noting that it entails guidelines and policies formulation to guide the process.
"The smooth implementation of this project entails the formulation of policies, procedures and guidelines to guide the process. We are in final stages of this process," Cllr. Tweh said during a business lunch Tuesday, 4 May at the LCC office on Capitol Hill.
He expressed thanks to the government especially the Ministry of Labor for this worthy initiative, adding that the Chambers stands ready to assist the government in whatever way.
Further, Cllr. Tweh thanked the U.S. government for its support, adding that U.S. Ambassador accredited to Liberia Michael McCarthy has been very supportive of the efforts and endeavors of the Chambers.
During an interview after the launch, Cllr. Tweh indicated that the keynote speaker Mr. Molewuleh B. Gray, Chairman of the National Investment Commission (NIC) had alerted the business community to be prepared to meet the challenge because the mining sector here would be reopened soon.
"They already as of today, they're working now and putting their things in order to meet the challenges to be able to be there when the mining sector is reopened ... [so] that they will be part of the supply chain," he added.
Cllr. Tweh noted that when a mining company is opened, other businesses like food, gasoline and other supplies are created around the company, saying the business community got to be ready to take the challenge.
He said the Liberia Chamber of Commerce is Liberia's oldest and most representative institution, representing a very diverse private sector comprising over 300 companies and business associations.
According to Cllr. Tweh, in the past, the Chambers held monthly business luncheon which was attended by key individuals and government functionaries who spoke from diverse topical issues relating to commerce, industry and finance, among others, which he said the new leadership of LCC has decided to recommence.
Cllr. Tweh continued that as a primary representative of employers and business community in Liberia, this is a way of the chambers to organize events that create the platform for the private sector to meet policy makers in government, discuss trending issues and propose personal solutions that will yield the win - win solution for all.
In a keynote speech at the LCC business luncheon, NIC Chairman Mr. Molewuleh B. Gray said the commission will remain a strong advocate for the private sector at all levels of the government, and will continue to dialogue with them and other stakeholders to find ways to harness greater opportunities for the domestic private sector.
However, he urged that the private sector, led by the Chamber of Commerce must sustain its engagements with the government and within its membership.
"The transformation of the economy is the goal of the President George Manneh Weah-led administration. To this end, the Government of Liberia pledges to promote business linkages: that is encouraging partnership between domestic business FDIs; local content: that is requiring FDI to procure locally where possible," he said.
He noted that mining operations will resume soon as the government is currently either renegotiating or granting approvals for most of the mining projects to recommence.
"It is incumbent upon the Chamber of Commerce and its members to prepare themselves when operations at these mines take off. I am encouraging the Liberia Chamber of Commerce to take charge of the Suppliers Development Program," he said.
He urged the Chamber to work with the Commission to ensure that domestic businesses supply the procurement needs of mines without exception.
Mr. Gray further stated that the commission continues to explore avenues to integrate the domestic economy into the global economy through linkages and local content programs between domestic businesses with the large multinational companies operating in the country.
According to the NIC boss, the impact of these business linkages has not been optimal, but NIC's effort testifies to the fact that when foreign investors source and procure goods and services locally, the domestic private sector benefits, thereby impacting the growth of the economy.
He details that the Government of Liberia is exerting all efforts to resuscitate mining projects that are currently dormant in hopes of seizing on the new improvements in the prices of primary commodities on the global market, particularly gold and Iron ore.
We expect that China Union, Bao Chico, Putu Iron Ore Mines, Jonah Capital (formerly BHP Billiton) etc. will recommence immediate operations due to the rebound in the prices of commodities. Iron Ore price today stands at 179 USD and projected to grow up to $200 USD by the 1st quarter of next year," Mr. Gray said.
Mr. Richard Tolbert, former NIC boss, said Mr. Gray's remarks concerning iron ore are stimulating, saying there is a great possibility for the economy here to be in the number in terms of generating revenues if iron ore prices have resumed back to over US$150 or over US$170.
He noted that there are a lot of ancillary benefits, services and businesses that can be built around iron ore, adding that there is a lot of hope and potential for the next few years.