Stop Discouraging Investors


The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

August 5, 2004

ON MONDAY, POST and Telecommunications Minister Eugene Nagbe ordered the closure of the Atlantic Wireless Liberia Incorporated(AWLI). He said his Ministry’s decision was predicated upon the fact that AWLI was illegally transmitting on GSM 900 frequency which was not assigned to it by the Ministry.

IN HIS STATEMENT, Minister Nagbe said the decision comes against the backdrop of a previous warning from the Ministry to the AWLI management regarding its illegal usage of the GSM 900 frequency something which according to the statement, has been ignored by the management of AWLI.

BUT CONTRARY TO the statement issued under the signature of Minister Nagbe, the Deputy Minister for Technical Services at the same Ministry, Sekou M. Kromah issued a statement expressing shock over the decision by his boss to order the closure of AWLI, and maintained that the company was not operating illegally in the country.

FURTHERMORE, DEPUTY MINISTER Kromah explained that the frequency in question has since been assigned to the AWLI and that his boss is fully aware of its usage by the entity. He regretted that Minister Nagbe did not contact his office before issuing such an embarrassing statement.

AT THE SAME time, some members of the business community have expressed serious concern about the order of closure of the legally registered company. They said that such an action has the potential to discourage investors, something they said is detrimental to this country which needs huge investment for its economic recovery and reconstruction programs.

OUR ATTENTION HAS been drawn to the matter because of the persistent inconsistent utterances and statements concerning the operation of LiberCell. We recall that days after the company announced its testing period, a statement from the government called on the company to stop rolling out despite meeting all of the requirements for operating a GSM cell phone company.

FOR US, THE continued rigmarole over the operation of the company, which is legally registered under the laws of Liberia, is sending a negative signal to the business community and would-be investors, who may be discouraged to venture into business here because of what is obtaining with the new cell phone company. This is so because at one point, the company is asked to operate and at another time it is advised to cease operations.

OBVIOUSLY, SUCH RIGMAROLE tends to create the impression that certain elements in government want to use this for self aggrandizement, and not in the interest of the people and the nation. These are some of the little things that have contributed to the backwardness of this country. Now, after years of backwardness, it is seemingly clear that the some of the issues of the ugly past are resurfacing.

IN VIEW OF the embarrassing situation, we call on the government to put on its thinking cap so as to take the right measures. This matter should be taken seriously because it has the propensity to deprive this country of needed investment.

LET INVESTORS BE encouraged, and not discouraged.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.