The International Finance Corporation-supported policy drive saw the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade (MoCI) devising new strategies to help Liberians stay in business, and start new enterprises. Most welcoming to business enthusiasts was government’s stance to demand all spending entities to utilize 25% of their expenditure budget to purchase locally-made products from Liberian businesses.
But few years down the road, especially against the excruciating brunt of the global economic shock being felt by everyone, government’s Liberianization policy appears to be a pipe dream; as local businesses, especially the media, continue to be strangulated by government spending entities that deliberately refuse to pay arrears owed Liberian businesses.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, which professes to champion the strengthening of local businesses, is the main government entity that is seen to be strangulating Liberian businesses.
According to the Capitol Times newspaper, out of 11 government spending entities that are indebted to the paper through the lifting of certified advertorials, the Ministry of Commerce alone owes a little over $12,000.
Other media sources have hinted that beside government spending entities owing and refusing to pay the media, some well known institutions with links to the international community have instituted internal policies to deal only with certain media institutions because of political or pecuniary interests.
“We have therefore vowed, as of our next post-season publication, to boldly and regularly carry front page headlines and full page announcements detailing names of all those spending entities that deliberately refuse to make the modicum of effort to settle their financial obligations to us in these satanically-invoked economic times,” says Capitol Times Managing Editor Molley Paasewe.
It is interesting to note that while government can willy-nilly close down media institutions because of taxation, the very government is refusing to pay media houses their meager income to support Liberian households.
“It’s the festive season, when everyone should be in a jolly mood. But how can our kith and kin be happy when they owe us US$36,000 and my staffs have not taken pay for three months now? This is the height of hypocrisy on the part of some of these government spending agencies!” maintains Paasewe.