Central Bank Executive Governor, Dr. Mills Jones has challenged Liberian entrepreneurs to start thinking big in order to help revamp the nation’s economy.
Dr. Jones made the statement yesterday in the conference room of Musu’s Spot in Congo Town when he gave a keynote address to grace the beginning of a two-day retreat organized by the Liberian Business Association (LIBA).
In his speech, Dr. Jones focused on how the Liberian business community needs to rise to the occasion to have access to the country’s resuscitating economy.
He sees LIBA having the potential to be able to move forward as a beacon of hope wherein Liberian entrepreneurs would be inspired in transforming the nation’s economy.
“ I believe in making possible what seems to be impossible. And when it comes to the future of the Liberian business community, I believe that an organization like LIBA can become an integral part of the process of transforming the Liberian economy, the end result being the development of a vibrant middle class consisting of employers and employees, farmers, as well as captains of industry, intellectuals and technicians, artisans and craftsmen. This is my vision, and I know that you too believe that it is possible,” Dr. Jones told the attentive audience.
While Dr. Jones holds the belief that LIBA has the potential in helping the public sector to revive the Liberian economy, he has equally used the opportunity to signal a warning to the Liberian business community.
“ We must believe in ourselves as a people; we must have a positive attitude, if we expect to achieve positive results. Negativism is a road to nowhere. No people have risen above the tide by putting themselves down,” the CBL Governor warned.
Dr. Jones also told members of LIBA that they will not succeed if they are fragmented, noting, “I challenge you to see reason to be together to make LIBA the new face of the new breed of Liberian entrepreneurs in the new Liberian economy”.
According to him, having access to funds and a few friends deciding to go abroad to come back with one or two containers, sometimes the containers filled with the same commodities should not be what the Liberian entrepreneurship means.
He further called on the organization to inspire its members to get involved into value-added production by utilizing local materials cautioning, “ we must be prepared to scale up our activities as service providers; we must get into real estate development; we must explore opportunities in agriculture, poultry farming, animal husbandry”.
He disclosed that the NIC, CBL, and IFC have organized a symposium on establishing a lease financing business in Liberia, which has the potential to increase the growth and competiveness of the SMEs, and the construction and agriculture sectors.
From the CBL’s point of view, Dr. Jones said Liberian businesses are expected to benefit by having access to income-producing assets at reasonable cost. “The CBL will be there to ensure that Liberian businesses have a fighting chance to benefit, as the leasing market develops. We are not in this to see everybody in, but Liberians. The CBL has already developed the framework that would govern this business,” Dr. Jones assured.
However, he said access to financing is only but one aspect of the constraint facing Liberian businesses as such, “it is important that we join hands to build capacity for Liberian entrepreneurs.
Commenting on the issue of Liberianization Policy, Dr. Jones suggested that an organization like LIBA should step up its mindset and get away from focusing on businesses set aside under the “ Liberianization Policy”.
According to him, supplying sand, selling used clothing and fire coal, and ice making, among other petty trades do not add much, when it comes to the intentions of any serious group bent on playing a meaningful role in the Liberian society.
The two-day ceremony is being held under the theme: “ Envisioning and Enhancing the Future of the Liberian Business Association (LIBA) for 100 LIBA Stakeholders”.