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|Liberia Five Places up as Destination for Doing Business in Sub- Saharan Africa||| Print ||
|Written by Henry Karmo (0886522495); FPA Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 23 October 2012 20:50|
Monrovia - Two weeks after the Mo Ibrahim Development report ranking Sierra Leone over Liberia in terms of growth, another report has been release by the International Finance Cooperation and the World Bank which puts Liberia five places in upward among the best places to do business in the Sub-Sahara region of Africa, but still slightly below Sierra Leone.
According to the IFC and World Bank report Liberia has moved up five places from 149 to 154 amongst 185 countries as countries that have made consistent progress in improving business regulations.
Liberia has been named as one of those countries that have made improvement in three areas including electricity, enforcing contracts and paying taxes.
The report by the IFC and the World Bank also indicated that of the 50 economies making the most improvement in business regulations for domestic firms since 2005, 17 are in sub-Saharan Africa.
“This year’s report marks the 10th anniversary of the Global Doing Business Report series. Since the report came into being, Africa has consistently recorded a high number of reforms.” The report said.
The doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium – Size Enterprises found that from June 2011 to June 2012, 28 out of 46 governments in Sub-Saharan Africa implemented at least one regulatory reform making it easier to do business resulting to a total of 44 reforms.
The report also disclosed that Liberia has made improvement in the enforcement of contracts easier by creating a specialized commercial court and at same time made paying taxes easier for companies by reducing the profit tax rate and abolishing the turnover tax.
The IFC and World Bank report also recommended that despite the achievement much more needs to be done to enable African economies build strong and competitive private sectors.
The report named Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Angola, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Cote d’ Ivoire, Togo, Nigeria and Sao Tome as some of the countries whose economies have improve greatly in Africa.
Globally, Singapore topped the global ranking for the seventh consecutive year. Joining it on the list of the 10 economies with the most business friendly regulation are Hong Kong SAR, China; New Zealand; the United States; Denmark; Norway; the United Kingdom; the republic of Korea; Georgia; and Australia.
Despite Liberia’s ranking in doing business in the areas of electricity, paying taxes, trading across borders and dealing with construction permit the challenge of getting access to electricity by people doing business and ordinary Liberians and cross border trade remains a challenge.
Surveys conducted by FrontPageAfrica found that as close as Broad Street is to the LEC, the government agency responsible for providing public electricity, some businesses operating in that area still do not have access to public electricity.
Also speaking at the launch of the report Deputy Commerce Minister Axel Addy said the ranking by the international Finance Corporation and the World Bank is due to what he termed as the political will by the government of Liberia to ensure that the economy of Liberia is improved.
Minister Addy named the development of the commercial code and setting up of the commercial court, the facilitation of tax reforms and cross border trade, the improvement in electricity connectivity through public private partnership arrangement and the creation of a one-stop shop for Business Registration as some of the areas the Liberian government has made great improvement in.
The deputy Commerce Minister said, “in terms of trade policy area, we are aware of challenges import permit declaration and export permit declaration pose as a non-tariff barrier to trade. We have made some strides in this area and will continue to do so”.
Minister Addy also revealed plans by the Government of Liberia to improve access to finance in Liberia and noted that the government through the Central Bank of Liberia working with the IFC is working to address systemic failures through the development of credit bureau and credit reference system”.
He also disclosed that the Ministry of Finance is seeking to further enable small and medium size enterprise by crafting a MSME Tax regime. The tax regime is geared toward creating a business environment whereby small and medium size businesses can rest assured that the taxes and other regulatory policies in place encourage and develop private sector growth.