Major Business Climate Ended -Adopts Measures to improve shipping industry -Min. Tweah Upbeat: “Sees improve mode of doing business in Liberia”

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A major business climate meeting was held on Wednesday, July 16, 2019 under the chairmanship of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP); proffering some measures as contained in a Joint Resolution signed between the Government of Liberia and the business community, specifically the shipping industry. The meeting brought together major stake holders including representatives of the Liberian government and the private shipping business sector.

Representing the government were, Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweah; Commerce and Industry Minister Wilson K.Tarpeh; National Port Authority Managing Director Bill E. Twehway and Liberia Revenue Authority Commissioner of Customs Saah Saamoi.

From the Shipping industry were, AMP Terminals Managing Director, George Adjei; PATEL’s Chairman Mr. Priestly Tenwah; Mr. Leo A. Johnson for OBT Shipping Lines; and Mr. Negel Alexandre for BOLLORE.

The rest are Mr. Saah K. Boimah for CMA-CGM Liberia Shipping Lines; Mr. James L. Hinneh of the Customs Brokers Association; Mr. Thomas Moore representing MAERSK Shipping Lines; Mr. Dushyant S. Panwar of the Global Transportation Management Solutions (GTMS); Mr. GIlbereto Martin for MSC Shipping Lines and Mr. Henry Bernard for BIVAC

In the nine-count resolution, participants covered Investment in Ship to Shore Gantry Crane; Marine Service; Bonded Warehouse; Executive Order; and Simplified Declaration. The resolution also covered Passage of Revenue Laws; Cargo Tracking Notes; Delivery Order; provided for a Transshipment Hub. The resolution commits the parties to these actionable deliverables to be achieved within specific time to help in improving the business climate of Liberia.

According to the preamble of the resolution, the parties believe that such a meeting involving the shipping industry is relevant in addressing some of the many economic challenges confronting the Liberian economy. In the resolution, the parties indicated that they are resolved to addressing the challenges in an amicably manner where necessary.

The Joint Resolution  said the stakeholders are cognizant that Liberia’s seaports represent the gate way to the country’s economy, and that with free and fair trade, stakeholders including the government can achieve a great impact in making the various ports efficient, cost sensitive and available to all users including importers and exporters.

The resolution therefore commits parties to the following actionable deliverables to be achieved within specific time period and are convinced that this commitment will help in improving the business climate in the Republic of Liberia.

The resolution said the AMP Terminals agreed to provide a decision on the procurement of a gantry or mobile crane in the next two months as an investment in Ship to Shore Gantry Crane, and that the APM Terminals, given the nature of the economy, will suspend planned increase of fees for Marine Services schedule for August 2019, pending the outcome of a meeting with the Board of APM Terminals and the Government of Liberia.

The resolution also provided for Bonded Warehouse which are intended to reduce the cost affecting consolidated shipment, pointing out that the Government of Liberia is undergoing the procurement of Destination Inspection, which will include the construction of Bonded Warehouse for deconsolidation (importers who combined to import goods into the country).

Additionally, the resolution said the Government of Liberia will work towards the issuance of Executive Order imposing a flat fee in lieu to the current percentage fee that is hindering transit flow through Liberia, noting that Bureau of Customs at the Liberia Revenue Authority has planned to rollout to paperless transactions in rural ports and land borders once the Simplified Declaration is completed to the benefit of small migrant cross borders traders.

Regarding Passage of Revenue Laws, the resolution provided that “…the Government of Liberia will accelerate the passage of the Amended Customs Code, Trade Facilitation Agreement, Revised Kyoto Convention and other revenue instruments currently before the National Legislature.” It also says concerning Cargo Tracking Notes, that the Management of GTMS will publish the rate they are charging clients for each container before the end of July 2019 and that they will call a major stakeholders’ meeting to provide additional information.

The Joint Resolution spoke about delivery order, saying that the Shipping Lines will provide a detailed break-down of Delivery Order and Demurrage Costs in Liberia, as part of the Government of Liberia aims to lower shipping cost in line with cost in the region; while a feasibility study will be conducted to see how Liberia can transition to being a transshipment hub in the region.

`   Speaking at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah Jr, expressed his utmost thanks and gratitude for the participation and meaningful contributions the stakeholders made to yesterday’s business climate meeting.

Minister Tweah said, “Your presence in today’s meeting signifies your commitment towards improving the mode of doing business in the country. With this, we are certain that the necessary changes will be made in the not too distance future so as to meet the needs and expectations of the ordinary people.”

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