Why Liberia Needs to Join the WTO

first_imgTo secure a peaceful and prosperous future for its youngest citizens, Liberia must ensure that they will have ample opportunity to succeed as the country enters its second decade of post-conflict stability. Membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) will provide a foundation for establishing the rules-based system for growing the economy, attracting foreign investment, and securing that future for the country’s youth. Liberia is the only country in ECOWAS that has yet to become a WTO Member. This places it at an economic disadvantage compared to its neighbors both for regional and international trade. As the June 15 deadline approaches for the lower house to ratify the country’s WTO accession package – Liberia must now ratify its accession agreement reached after nearly 10 years of negotiations with the WTO and trade partners.With more than 50 percent of its population under 18 and facing limited prospects for gainful employment, Liberia desperately needs to create jobs through economic growth and diversification as called for in its 18-year development plan to reach middle income status by 2030. WTO membership will provide the foundation for achieving this goal. This is not to suggest that WTO accession will be a panacea for all of Liberia’s economic challenges. Membership by itself will not automatically create a dynamic economy. It will, however, reduce impediments to trade that will help attract new investment and allow entrepreneurs, innovators and efficient producers to flourish.But what’s in it for the average Liberian?1. More jobs generated through improved transparency, a more predictable business environment, and new investment.2. Enhanced export opportunities for Liberian products.3. Lower prices at the store and improved access to services.Now, my thoughts on these three benefits:Liberia’s WTO Accession Protocol calls for enhancing Liberia’s investment climate to provide a transparent and predictable business environment. When Liberia joins the WTO, it will commit to establishing predictable tariff rates, ensuring transparency in thepublication and enactment of laws, and adherence to an enforceable mechanism for resolving disputes. Business thrives on predictability, so these initiatives will foster new investment, job creation and economic growth.As to the benefits from lowered trade barriers to exports, look no further than the results of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which promotes trade with the United States. In 2014, non-oil AGOA trade was valued at $4.4 billion, a 250 percent increase from 2001, the first full year of AGOA. That trade supports an estimated 300,000 direct jobs in Africa. Just as AGOA has contributed to trade growth in Africa by providing expanded duty-free access for exports from the region, WTO membership will provide similar opportunities for Liberia.Liberia’s accession would also give it a voice at the WTO table to negotiate tariff rates on goods and services, which can lead to substantial cost savings on some imported goods. For example, membership will open the door for the expansion of the telecom sector in Liberia, and will allow international banks to operate within its borders. This will create new jobs, attract new investment, and bring in new financing options for Liberian companies. Liberia may also be able to respond to the dearth of physicians and other healthcare professionals through reciprocity agreements on granting license to non-Liberians.These are just three reasons why it is incumbent upon the lower house to ratify Liberia’s WTO accession agreement by June 15 and secure the country’s rightful place among the world’s trading nations.As President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf noted at the conclusion of WTO accession negotiations last year, “Liberia’s accession to the WTO marks another turning point in our history, particularly in our journey of economic transformation for inclusive growth.” I truly look forward to watching and supporting that transformation.Linda Thomas Greenfield was U.S. Ambassador to Liberia 2008 to 2012.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Dr. Kilo’s Timely Warning: Liberia, Invest Seriously in Agriculture!

first_imgOkay, when African leaders met in Maputo, Mozambique in 1995 and decided that African nations should each invest at least 10% of their budgets in agriculture, Liberia was still at war. But did not the war end in 2003? Did we not have a United Nations peacekeeping force here since then, and peace ever since?So what has prevented Liberia, a country that imports most of its food, including its staple, rice, and even pepper, from devoting the 10% of our annual national budget to agriculture? Is it the lack of political will on the part of our government? Or is it her lack of seriousness and focus?Well, the British poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island.” So whether we like it or not, people are watching us and taking note of our lack of seriousness and commitment to the things that belong to our peace, security and prosperity.One such person is Dr. Margaret Hilda Kilo, Liberia Resident Representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB). In recent talks with Senate President Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah, Dr. Kilo observed that Liberia is “losing a lot because she is not prioritizing agriculture, and is, therefore, spending too much money on imported agricultural products.” So we ask, what is the purpose of newspapers? This newspaper, Daily Observer, has since February 1981 published a weekly Farm Page highlighting agricultural issues. But strangely enough, the government has never really taken agriculture seriously. There was, during one year in the late 1980s, one exception. An egg war was going on, and the Daily Observer championed the cause of Liberian poultry farmers, against the importers, who were importing, on a monthly basis, hundreds of containers of chickens and eggs. This created a very serious challenge to Liberian poultry producers, who felt they were being undermined by these foreign imports of the very commodities, chickens and eggs, that they were producing. We carried several stories on the farmers’ plight and later wrote an Editorial urging the MOA to seek government intervention by banning the importation of eggs in order to give our poultry farmers a break. Agriculture succeeded in getting the government to do just that and the poultry farmers were greatly relieved. One large poultry farmer later responded by bringing to the Daily Observer office early one night, a pickup load of eggs, to express appreciation for what the newspaper had done.We politely declined the offer, telling the producer that we had done what we did out of our patriotic duty to help our own farmers out. When he insisted, we received from him only three dozen eggs to divide among the staff.Upon our return to the market on Tuesday, June 21, 2005, following 15 years of exile due to the war, we immediately recommenced the Observer Farm Page on Thursday of that same week and have been producing it since. We have over these past few years lamented the failure of the agriculture sector, and cried because it was manned by two of our top trained agriculturists, Dr. Chris Toe and Dr. Florence Chenoweth. We are in the middle of this year’s commencement season. What are our commencement speakers telling our graduates? Hopefully not the same old same old. Each speaker, we pray, will ask the graduates, what will you do with your education? As Counselor Oswald Tweh told Cuttington graduates last Sunday, the answer should be, Strive to MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE for your country, your schools, your families, your careers and for yourselves. He stressed ethics, honesty, integrity, hard work and punctuality and urged them ALWAYS to remember the Biblical principle: “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor, rather than silver and gold.”Yes, it is not enough just to say “I know book.” The question is, what are you going to do with the “book” that you know?It is NOT too late for the Ellen administration to make a difference in our agriculture. We have over the past several months made several suggestions to the new Agriculture Minister, Dr. Moses Zinnah. We pray that he has taken note of them and is taking the necessary action. As we said in Monday’s Editorial, let him seize the opportunity, for starts, to encourage our poultry farmers to take advantage of the US$20 million loan facility which the Overseas Private Industry Corporation (OPIC) has extended to the International Bank Liberia Limited (IBLL). Among the areas they are targeting is agribusiness.Here is an opportunity to empower our poultry farmers who, within a year or two, could help us save the foreign exchange we spend importing chickens and eggs.The Agriculture Ministry and the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) should, at long last, start encouraging corn planting and other crops on a massive scale, to produce feed for poultry and swine (pigs). Dr. Zinnah should also take the Lofa and other rice farmers seriously and PUSH them toward greater productivity. One day soon, we may start feeding ourselves with our staple, and limit or eliminate the importation of rice. That would be a BIG ONE! Let us STOP listening to people who tell us it is impossible. It is NOT! Now, let us get down to business and DO IT! Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Govt seems to have abandoned efforts to grow economy – Ramkarran

first_imgFormer People’s Progressive Party (PPP) stalwart Ralph Ramkarran has stated that in light of the 2017 “taxation” Budget, Government seems to be giving the impression that it has neglected efforts to grow the economy and has become satisfied with marking time until oil arrives.Ralph RamkarranHe stated in his weekly column, “The Conversation Tree”, that with Guyana’s economy declining, the income of the Government has also declined significantly, along with its ability to spend. Therefore, he posited that in making its decision on the Budget, the Government found itself between a rock and a hard place –it had to settle on whether to reduce spending in proportion to its reduced income or sustain the same or a similar level of previous public spending, by raising funds by way of taxation and borrowing.“It chose the latter course by imposing or increasing taxes on individuals and businesses. It has also increased the amount that it will borrow next year, eliminating any prospect of a decline in interest rates,” he said, adding that the taxation measures will only reduce burden on the “well-off and on companies”, while the burden on low- and medium-income earners will be increased.“The promise of an expanding economy to meet the growing needs of the Guyanese people will not be achieved by this budget. Large-scale projects and big-ticket items have been shelved or are on the back burner. Barama has packed up its forestry operations, because no one is capable of making a decision on its application for a renewal of its lease. Investors complain that decisions on proposals are not being given serious or any consideration. Decision-making, they claim, appears to be at a standstill and no one seems willing or capable of pushing projects that will benefit the nation,” he said.Ramkarran highlighted that the “exciting promise of change in 2015 has not materialised”, and without an overarching strategy for the growth of mining, forestry, rice, agriculture, hydro-power, technology, construction and other sectors, and constant and relentless efforts to remove roadblocks and encourage business, the Government gives the impression, which may or may not be true that it has abandoned serious efforts to grow the economy.Moreover, Ramkarran added that if it was the Government’s plan to wait until oil has arrived, that was not a plan at all. He went on to state that for both the population and businesses, the elimination of the zero-rated status and imposition of exempt status on a range of goods and services will result in higher prices to consumers, as the cost of VAT on inputs for those goods and services will make them more expensive to produce.“The burden will have to be borne by consumers, as some businesses have already indicated,” he said, adding that it was also untrue that the imposition of VAT on water and electricity would not affect low-income consumers. Instead, he indicated that the cost of production of all goods and services that utilise water and/or electricity would go up and would inevitably be passed on to the consumer.“The consumer, therefore, gets a double whammy. First, he/she has to face the increased cost of goods and services that lose zero-rated status as regards VAT. Second, he/she has to face the increased cost of goods and services that use water and/or electricity in their production. Any relief by way of reduced income tax or VAT for low-income earners will be far outweighed by the increase in the cost of living due to zero-rating and VAT on water and electricity,” he explained.GRA powersFurthermore, Ramkarran noted that the proposed power to be given to the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to raid the bank accounts of defaulting taxpayers and/or to prevent them from leaving Guyana has caused fear. He underscored that the Commissioner General already has the power “under Section 102 of the Income Tax Act of garnishment”, that is, requiring entities, which would include a bank, which owe a taxpayer who “is liable to make a payment of tax”, to pay the sum to the Commissioner General. Therefore, he stated that the Government needed nothing more.last_img read more

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Dufresne Crowned King of Spring

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. –  The Blizzard Bike Club was in action last weekend this time competing in the King of Spring Montney Circuit.Mike Dufresne won the 55 kilometre race and was crowned the “King of Spring”, while Kristine Bock came first out of the women and was deemed “Queen of Spring”The race started at Wood’s Corner and went all the way to Upper Pine School and back. 13 total racers attended, their times are listed below:- Advertisement -55KM: 1. Mike Dufresne 1:58:19 hours2. Robert Sapp 2:06:023. Kristine Bock 2:07:024. Pat Ferris 2:13:035. Natasha Pasincky 2:16:436. Amanda Mitchell 2:22:197. Davide Loro 2:23:288. Rick Newlove 2:35:5035KM:Advertisement 1. Hannah North 1:15:562. Matt Matchell 1:16:143. Emma North 1:20:144. Dan Bastiaansen 1:20:545. Kate North 1:35:14Up next for the Blizzard Bike Club is the B.C. Peace Randonneur 400 km Grand Tour de Peace on Saturday May 26th.last_img read more

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Midget Flyers 1-1 over the weekend

first_imgThe Petroleum Association Midget Flyers were 1-1 in action over the weekendOn Saturday night the Flyers travelled to Fairview. They got off to a fast start taking a 2-0 lead early on in the first period. Fairview managed to score four straight goals leaving the Flyers trailing 4-2 after the first. The Flyers scored two goals in the second to draw the game even 4-4. It was the third period where the Flyers began to dominate. They scored six goals in the frame and left Fairview with a 10-5 victory.- Advertisement -On Sunday the Flyers were at home against Grande Prairie. The Flyers looked flat during the game’s early goings and were losing 6-2 at one point. The were able to pull their game together and closed the gap to 6-5 in the third. This was as close as they would come as they were unable to score the tying goal.Blair Karasiuk had a whopping seven points in the two games, while Cayle Bell and Beuden Lancaster both chipped in with five points.Next up for the Flyers they are at home on Oct. 24 against Spirit River. Faceoff is at 12:45 p.m. at the Pomeroy Sport Centre.last_img read more

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Napoli cut gap to Juventus, Icardi fires Inter into third

first_img“We played some really good football today, even if Sassuolo were not an easy opponent to deal with,” said Ancelotti.Algerian youngster Ounas, making his full debut in Serie A, gave Napoli the perfect start with a magnificent goal in only the third minute.The 21-year-old latched onto a poor back-pass from Manuel Locatelli, flicked the ball over the head of visiting centre-back Giangiacomo Magnani, and hammered home a stunning left-footed volley to score his first goal in Italian football.The home team dominated throughout, with Dries Mertens drilling an effort wide before sending an attempted lob from the halfway line floating over.But Insigne came off the bench early in the second half and secured the win in trademark style with 18 minutes remaining, cutting inside off the left wing and curling a ferocious shot into the far top corner.“I am going through a good period of form, I hope to continue like this and to keep scoring regularly, but aside from all that, I really hope Napoli can go all the way in every competition,” said Insigne, who also scored the winner against Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday.Napoli finished the game playing against 10 men, after Sassuolo wing-back Rogerio’s late red card.– Icardi double for Inter –Call me by name: Inter Milan’s Argentinian forward Mauro Icardi gestures after scoring the second goal © AFP / Miguel MEDINAInter Milan moved into third place, eight points off the lead, after a 2-1 win at SPAL, their fourth in a row.Captain Mauro Icardi scored both Inter’s goals.The Argentine opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a header which glanced off SPAL’s Johan Djourou before adding a second off an incisive pass from Ivan Perisic 12 minutes from time.In between, however, Mirco Antenucci missed a penalty for SPAL before Alberto Paloschi temporarily pulled his side level in the 72nd minute.Ciro Immobile scored his first-ever goal against Fiorentina as Lazio claimed a 1-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico earlier on Sunday and now stand fourth in the table.Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio went into the match looking to bounce back from their 3-1 derby defeat by Roma last weekend, and did just that to leapfrog their beaten opponents in the table.“Today we saw the real Lazio, the team with heart that battles hard, that wins duels and games,” midfielder Senad Lulic told DAZN.“If we play like this, then we can beat anyone. You could see today how hungry we were for the three points.”Marco Parolo flashed a shot narrowly wide early on, before Lazio defender Wallace got away with a slack pass as Marco Benassi’s effort was kept out by Thomas Strakosha.Immobile made the breakthrough in the 38th minute, as Stefan Radu nodded on a corner and the Italy striker stretched to volley in at the back post for his fifth league goal of the season.The 28-year-old, who signed a contract extension which will keep him at the club until 2023 earlier this week, has now scored 57 Serie A goals since the start of the 2016-17 campaign.Giovanni Simeone had a penalty appeal waved away for the visitors, while Marko Pjaca also went close to an equaliser, but the home side held on for their fourth win in five league games.– Higuain stars for Milan –Suso set up both Higuain’s goals on Sunday © AFP / MARCO BERTORELLOAC Milan extended their unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions as Gonzalo Higuain scored twice in a 3-1 victory over lowly Chievo at the San Siro.Higuain has now scored six goals in just seven appearances for Gennaro Gattuso’s men since joining from Juventus in the close-season.“Higuain is a champion, a great finisher, a lad who at this moment is working really hard for the group, is demanding and also well-loved,” Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia.Milan sit 10th, but only four points off the top three with a game in hand.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Lorenzo Insigne scored Napoli’s second with a fantastic strike © AFP / Andreas SOLAROMILAN, Italy, Oct 8 – Napoli moved back to within six points of Serie A leaders Juventus on Sunday as goals from Adam Ounas and Lorenzo Insigne clinched a 2-0 win over Sassuolo, while Inter Milan took third by beating SPAL.Carlo Ancelotti’s hosts slipped off the pace last weekend with a loss to Juve in Turin, but managed to avoid dropping further adrift, after the embattled Cristiano Ronaldo scored in the reigning champions’ victory at Udinese on Saturday.last_img read more

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Reports – Chelsea winger agrees personal terms with Wolfsburg

first_img Chelsea winger Andre Schurrle Reports suggest Chelsea winger Andre Schurrle has agreed personal terms with Wolfsburg.The 24-year-old’s Stamford Bridge future has been in doubt, particularly with the Blues pursuit of Fiorentina forward Juan Cuadrado.talkSPORT understands the Premier League leaders have agreed a €32 million deal for the 26-year-old, which seems to have given the green light for Schurrle to join the Bundesliga club.The German World Cup winner had previously said he “belongs” to Chelsea, but his 18-month spell with the Blues seems to be coming to a close. 1last_img

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Shock for locals as Inishowen to Letterkenny bus service is scrapped

first_imgBus service users on the Northwest Busways Inishowen-Letterkenny route were shocked yesterday to discover that the service will be stopped in just two week’s time.The scrapping of the Moville-Letterkenny bus has come as a blow to the local communities, who rely on the service for school, work, appointments and everyday transport.A sign placed on the bus yesterday announced that the service will end on Friday 11th October 2019. It is understood that the service was deemed not financially viable. The plans are set to leave many people in limbo without their regular transport. Senator Padraig MacLochlainn has acted on the planned changes by making urgent representations to the National Transport Authority on the matter.He said that the NTA have confirmed that a new commercial operator will take up the licence of this route. The operator cover some of the routes which will be cut from 11th October. The NTA is also working with the Local Link service to try and cover the rest, Senator MacLochlainn confirmed.He said: “I am making it clear that all communities in Inishowen from Malin and Moville right through the peninsula; the students, workers and family members visiting loved ones in Letterkenny Hospital need this public service maintained.“The people of Inishowen have a right to public transport like everyone else!” The final Northwest Busways Letterkenny to Inishowen service will be at 5.40pm on Friday 11th October.Shock for locals as Inishowen to Letterkenny bus service is scrapped was last modified: October 14th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Inishowennorthwest buswayslast_img read more

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Jimmy G will lead 49ers to playoffs, NBC’s Peter King says

first_imgLast year, voices across NFL media picked the 49ers as a “sleeper” to make the playoffs with the talented Jimmy Garoppolo set for his first full season under offensive genius Kyle Shanahan.Garoppolo struggled early and tore his ACL in Week 3, running the Niners’ far off the playoff path as they trudged to a 4-12 season.This offseason has seen fewer analysts clamoring to climb on the 49ers’ bandwagon, but one prominent pundit just hopped on.NBC’s Peter King, formerly of Sports Illustrated, h …last_img

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Qantas welcomes Retro Roo

first_imgBack to the future is certainly an overused phrase, but in the case of the Qantas retro Boeing 737, it really is back to the future in more ways than one.The airline has battled severe headwinds and turbulence over the past four years but has turned the corner and spirits are lifting.The latest 737-800 adorned with a 1970s colour scheme, introduced with the first 747 in 1971, is a flagship of the new Qantas that has gone back to the future, and back to basics, to regain its mojo.And if the delivery flight of VH-XZP named after former Qantas CEO and trailblazer, the late James Strong, is any guide the new Qantas will be flying high.Guests on the delivery flight were treated to an amazing 1970s themed meal completed with flight attendants dressed in the 1970s Pucci uniform of green blazer and floral dress.The restaurant in the sky treatment however is not just for the delivery flight with the airline announcing that it is super sizing meals –and doubling the choice – on all international flights from next month.And in more news from the airline, from next month, the airline’s A330s will be fitted out with lie-flat beds in business class on domestic routes. The newest addition to the Qantas fleet touched down in Sydney on Wednesday November 19 and is a flying tribute to mark seven decades of the Flying Kangaroo logo.Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce joined past and present staff and executives, Boeing executives and other guests to welcome the aircraft after it was given a water cannon salute from Air Services Australia.“Seeing this brand new aircraft in classic livery inspires a real sense of pride in all that Qantas and its people have achieved,” said Mr Joyce. “For 70 years this familiar kangaroo on the tail has represented not just our airline but also the best of Australia and a sense of home for those who have seen it at airports around the world. We are especially proud to name this aircraft after our friend and former CEO, James Strong. James was instrumental in the making of the modern Qantas, including the merger with Australian Airlines.” James Strong was Qantas CEO from 1993 to 2001 and later served on the Qantas Board until his death in March 2013. And in a moving ceremony Mrs Strong unveiled a surprise bow tie beneath the name James Strong. The late Mr Strong always wore bow ties.The retro 737 also provides a fascinating snapshot of then and now for Qantas and for aviation.The Qantas Group now operates nearly eight times more aircraft than in the 1970s with 308 planes. And the airfares have taken a massive tumble.In 1974 a return economy airfare from Sydney to London was $774.70, which was six times the average weekly wage at the time. Today the London return trip starts from approx $2,600 which is just two times the average Australian weekly wage.In 1974 Qantas employed about 13,000 staff and today the staff count numbers 30,000.And in 1974 Qantas flew to just 31 international destinations and today its network of international ports is 250 and domestically 54.In 1974 Qantas prepared approx 2.4 million meals a year and now it prepares 42 million.And if you were travelling in 1974 you had two choices – first and economy. Today there is first, business, premium economy and economy.In-flight entertainment has also gone through an incredible revolution. In 1974 the IFE was audio channels and movies on a big screen on the 747. There were 2 stereo and 8 mono audio channels available.Today Qantas offers an almost endless range of IFE from your seat back with over 200 movies.last_img read more

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