…But Lawmaker Calls For Dialogue
By: Necus M. Andrews
The Chairman on the House’s Committee on Commerce and Industry is appealing to the group of Liberian business entrepreneurs who are planning to stage a mass protest against the Liberian government to abandon their quest.
Some Liberian business entrepreneurs under the banner, “Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL)” has vowed that they will initiate their second protest against the government this week for what they call “unfavorable business environment.”
The group blamed the government for doing very little to improve the business climate in the country.
Unlike the three-day protest which shutdown recently, the forthcoming protest action, according to the organizers, will go on until the government their concerns are addressed forthwith.
“This time around we are not going to relent if we cannot hear from the lawmakers. We are calling on Ma Ellen to speak for us so that our concerns can be resolved. All we’ve been getting is promises but nothing has changed,” PATEL said.
Speaking to Legislative reporters at the capitol, Representative Samuel G. Kogar said such protest has the propensity to encourage hardship and drive away investors from the country.
Early this year, PATEL led a major protest that saw the closure of all business institutions in the country, demanding government to intervene in the depreciation of the Liberian dollar against the United States dollar; high tariffs and incidental tariffs that are placed on goods imported by Liberian businesses.
Representative Kogar said issues raised by the Liberian business entrepreneurs are all legitimate but they cannot be resolved hastily.
Kogar said the legislature has taken note of the issues and was addressing them carefully to involve all stakeholders from the three branches of government.
He indicated that some of the issues, for which the business entrepreneurs are planning to protest, are legal and as lawmakers they are doing everything possible to discuss them during the 2017/2018 fiscal year.
The group said they are constantly been harassed by the police while trying to do their business legitimately.
The Nimba County representative is urging the business people to maintain the confidence they have in the Legislature because they are negotiating talks to have their concerns addressed.
“As the people’s direct representatives, we know your concerns are all legitimate, and because they are legitimate we are doing everything possible to put this under control…continue to trust us,” Representative Kogar said.
The Lawmakers said “maintaining the gains the country has made over the years through the consolidation of peace is a collective effort; therefore we should not expose this peace to insecurity.”
According to him, the results of protest have not been in favor of the country, urging Liberians to always engage their leaders through dialogue.
PATEL is comprised of Liberian business owners. Their planned action, they said, will shut down Monrovia and other cities to bring the government’s attention to the plight of business people, especially the indigenous traders.