President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has announced the enactment of a law that will require the Liberian government to procure 25 percent of goods produced locally to benefit Liberian small businesses.She made the pronouncement Tuesday, April 29, at the opening of this year’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) conference, held in Monrovia.This year’s MSME conference spotlighted agriculture and agri-businesses, which contribute an estimated 60 percent to the nation’s gross domestic products (GDPs) and is the sector in which most Liberians are employed.“I am pleased to announce the National Small Business Act of 25 percent of government’s public procurement for Liberian small business. If made law, thousands of Liberian rice farmers, traders and processors will stand to benefit,” President Sirleaf stated as she formerly opened the MSME conference.She said that the development of Liberia’s small businesses was critical to the growth of the nation’s economy.“It is one thing to have a policy; but the implementation is what matters most. In so doing, we will have to ensure that whatever law is put into place is strictly adhered to,” she asserted.Madam Sirleaf then called on the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to help develop the capacities of small entrepreneurs, so that they would be qualified to access the market.In remarks, Commerce and Industry Minister Axel Addy said that the initiative was meant to empower local production and create market access for Liberian-made products.A Liberian rice farmer in Totota, Bong County, who spoke to the Daily Observer after the 25 percent proposed procurement law was announced, welcomed the news. Harriet Larway, head of the Arise and Shine Farmers’ Cooperative in Totota, Salala District, said the law was needed to give rice farmers greater access to markets.Ms. Larway said that rice farmers in the country find it very difficult to market their produce.“Considering that rice is the country’s staple food, the government needs to pay more attention to rice farmers. Market opportunity is very essential for local farmers. We are lacking access to finance in order to improve our farms,” she explained.The female rice farmer further stated that the price at which local rice is bought from farmers is not encouraging.“The cost for rice production is very high and labor intensive for a 50kg bag to be sold for US$20,” she asserted. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Conflict of interest at Housing MinistryTransparency Institute of Guyana Incorporated (TIGI) has weighed in on the conflict of interest issues arising in the Housing Ministry, saying the fact that a contract for constructing houses was awarded to the Housing Minister’s husband is not a good look for the State.Minister Valerie Patterson-YearwoodGodfrey YearwoodOn Saturday, TIGI called for Government to review the contract award.In an interview with Guyana Times, TIGI President, Dr Troy Thomas noted that a review would determine to what extent Housing Minister Valerie Patterson-Yearwood was involved in her husband being awarded the contract.“It would seem that there is a conflict of interest and then it would be important to try to understand the circumstances under which the contract was awarded and to what extent the Minister was involved,” Dr Thomas said.“Even if the Minister wasn’t directly involved, if a subordinate of the Minister was involved, the whole situation doesn’t seem ideal,” he explained, nevertheless acknowledging reports that the contract was awarded before the Minister got married.He noted that the timeline for the award of the contract could raise complications regarding accusations of a conflict of interest in the award of the contract. But he said the importance of transparency and the need for answers are important.“Given that it has come out like this, it should definitely be reviewed and let’s understand what happened, when it happened.”Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Housing Minister’s husband, Godfrey Yearwood, was awarded a contract to build homes for a project spearheaded by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA).ContractThat project is still ongoing and according to CH&PA Chief Executive Officer, Lelon Saul in an interview with the media after the story broke, the contract awarded to the Minister’s husband was a one-off award.In fact, Saul himself noted to the media that the contract award is a conflict of interest and in fact that a review of the award might be in order. He had called for the CH&PA board to review the matter and ensure there is no reoccurrence.“The award of contracts is above my level. But I think the (CH&PA) Board should review that (awarding process) based on recommendations coming from the agency,” Saul asserted.When contacted on Thursday for a comment on the matter, which was published in Guyana Times on that day (April 4, 2019), Minister Patterson-Yearwood said she would not give a comment.This issue came to the fore on Wednesday last when Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo disclosed that the Minister’s husband had sub-contracted the works and the person whom he hired is complaining of not being paid for works done to date.In fact, the construction worker, a resident of Victoria Village, on the East Coast of Demerara, had written President David Granger four times over the past year for his intervention but only got acknowledgement responses so far.
Here are the top transfer-related stories in Tuesday’s newspapers…Tottenham are expecting lose Danny Rose this summer – with Manchester United favourites to get him. Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is eyeing potential replacements with Doncaster-born Rose believed to be interested in moving back up north. That has alerted United boss Jose Mourinho, who has made a new left back one of his main priorities this summer. (Daily Mirror)Ander Herrera will rebuff any advances from Barcelona by committing his future to Manchester United. Herrera is on the radar of the new Barcelona coach, Ernesto Valverde, but it is understood Herrera has no interest in leaving Old Trafford this summer and wants instead to extend his stay at the club. (Daily Telegraph)Roy Hodgson wants the chance to succeed Sam Allardyce as Crystal Palace manager. Hodgson has been out of work since quitting England after their 2-1 defeat against Iceland at Euro 2016 last summer and wants one last job in the game. (The Sun)Jerome Boateng is on Chelsea’s radar. The Bayern Munich defender has come into the picture as the Blues seek alternatives to Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk. (The Sun)Sevilla have joined Deportivo La Coruna in the race to sign Arsenal’s wantaway striker Lucas Perez. (The Sun)Rafa Benitez has opened the door to Pepe Reina becoming Newcastle’s No?1 next season. Former Liverpool keeper Reina, 34, is reportedly unsettled at Italians Napoli. (The Sun)Wes Brown is wanted by League Two side Crewe. The former England and Manchester United centre-back, 37, has not been offered new terms by Blackburn and will be released on June 30. (The Sun)And here are the latest talkSPORT.com headlines…?Manchester City FC transfer news: Benfica goalkeeper Ederson set to sign for world-record £35m feeFrench trio ready to beat Newcastle and Watford to the signing of Nicolas PepeInter Milan determined to beat Chelsea and Manchester United in battle for Lazio star Keita BaldeNewcastle United set to start bidding for Manchester United target Nelson SemedoArsenal FC news: Wojciech Szczesny ready to STAY in Serie A and sign three-year Napoli deal