Bai Gbala Takes Indians, Lebanese to Task -For Inducing Bad Business Practices

A Liberian statesman and economist, Bai M. Gbala, Sr., has taken to task Indian and Lebanese business merchants for encouraging bad business practices in the country, noting that the South African former President, Jacob Zumah scenario may play in Liberia if Liberian officials are not careful with their involvement with Indian, Lebanese as well as some Liberian business merchants.

Mr. Gbala accused these merchants of bribing officials at the peril of the struggling economy, noting that the handwriting of similar situations in South Africa are on the wall in the country.

Mr. Gbala has taken to task the conduct of foreign nationals doing business in the country, saying that they have been negatively impacting the Liberian economy in collusion with some Liberian officials.

The former official of Liberia who pointed out that similar fate that landed South African former President, Jacob Zumah, in serious trouble concerned with bribes when he was arrested, prosecuted and jailed awaits Liberia.

In an open letter to the Indians and Lebanese Merchants, Mr. Gbala’s view about these merchants is that they have exploited the economy in collusion with some Liberian officials.

During these decades of his advocacy for Liberian citizenship to foreigners, Mr. Gbala said he discovered, with deep regret and sorrow, that the foreign nationals doing business in Liberia took and are taking undue advantage of this small, poor country in milking it’s economy by your control of the parallel Forex Bureau with the prices of goods and services that they import into Liberia, and, thus, created or creating extreme economic hard times for the people.

He maintained, “Take, for example, your ‘supermarkets’, particularly, the Rice (nation’s staple) import Cartel, the major bribery/corruption point and your pharmacies with unaffordable prices of drugs.

Mr. Gbala continued, “Thievery, ‘Legislated Bribery’ and corruption stink to high heaven – by prices of your imported commodities such as HP #61 print cartridges which went from $10 US dollars to $15 to $20 to $25 to $30 to $35 and now stands at $40 US dollars yesterday !!”

Mr. Gbala indicated in his open letter that today, “Liberia’s foreign exchange Rate, though in the great beyond, is L$154 to US $1, determined NOT by competitive free-market forces, but by Liberian forces of “demand- for/receipt” of “Legislated bribes” and political corruption.

This he said is done through parallel foreign exchange bureaus controlled and dominated with manipulation of exchange rates by Lebanese, Indians, Fulanis and some Liberian merchants, in collusion with some highly-placed officials of the Liberian Government.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gbala indicated that he wants foreign nationals who lived, worked, contributed and continue to immensely contribute to socio-economic development of Liberia to be given Liberian citizenship.

He was specific in pointing at the Lebanese, some of whom are with children born here, saying that they should and must be granted Liberian citizenship if they desire.

Saying that this has been his strong and un-shakable belief then and now, the Liberia economist and politician further emphasized how he holds and believes, as he did advocate over the decades, that   non-negro and/or of non-negro descent as well as those of any gender and of age 18 years of age and above should be given citizenship of Liberia.

Mr. Gbala’s belief in who citizenship should be given was further defined when he named people of any national origin, without consideration of race and religious creed. He said they should be considered if qualified consistent with Liberian immigration/citizenship law and international conventions,

“This has been my strong, unshakable belief then and now. For, I believe and hold that foreign nationals who lived, worked, contributed immensely to socio-economic development of Liberia and continue, especially, the Lebanese, some with children born here, should and must be granted Liberian citizenship if they desire,” Mr. Gbala further said.

He justified his stance by saying, “Liberia is a small, poor, un-educated (relatively) Third World developing country with democracy under the rule of law.

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