Liberia: Judicial Confab to Ease Doing Business

Day four of the 4th National Judicial Conference with the theme: The Law, Public Policy and the Economy will today feature the business community. Though this is the first of its kind, the event underscores the needful relationship between an enabling business environment, one that inhibits free market opportunities and innovation, as well as the rule of law and access to justice.

It is no secret that the rule of law is an effective tool for promoting and protecting private sector growth. The same can be said that the private sector is the engine of sustained economic growth and development in any society. Without an effective judicial system that addresses some of the problems underpinning the business environment, not much could be of job creation and improved standard of living.

This year's theme of the National Judicial Conference is all-encompassing and demonstrates the commitment and synergies from the three branches of government. The theme is also reflective of the marriage between macroeconomic stability, economic growth, and improvement in living standards on the one hand and access to justice, the rule of law, fairness, and equality under the law.

Presentations are expected to reflect the state of business activities in the country and how laws are positively or negatively impacting transactional relations between buyer and seller or lender and borrower alike. Critical to the discussions will be the issues of enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and paying taxes.

Over the years, commercial banks have been raising alarm over borrowers' inabilities to settle their indebtedness. Using the court as a legal remedy in some cases has not been successful due to delays in legal procedures, times, and costs. The recent World Bank ease of doing business report noted that on average, it takes more than 1000 days to adjudicate an arising out of resolving insolvency.

The head of the Business Climate Secretariat, P. Emmanuel Munyeneh noted that this year's conference will not showcase only problems and challenges for a conducive investment climate but rather one that will focus on finding solutions. The conference will be practical. The public and private sector will tell the Liberian people what gains they have made since 2020 and what are some of the challenges that need to be addressed through law and regulatory frameworks" Munyeneh noted.

In October 2018 President, George M. Weah set up the Business Climate Working Group to identify and mitigate binding constraints to the ease of doing business in the country. Since its formation, the Secretariat has had series of policy and technical meetings to identify and address some of the impediments.

The conference which starts today will also use Zoom as a means of connecting international partners and Liberians in the Diaspora as their participation and contribution will also help in finding solutions. The Fula, Indian and Lebanese communities are also expected to share their perspectives on lessons learned in doing business in Liberia. The International Financial Institution is also expected to provide perspectives on impediments to enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency in Liberia. The President of Liberia, President Weah is expected to make opening comments at the conference.

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