OP-ED: A Popular Victory Against Money, Power, and Greed

According to a Frontpage Africa’s article, while 34 out of 38 members of the House of Representatives voted in favor of granting a national counterproductive tax break to a Lebanese business, some senators have rejected the president’s request to grant such an unpatriotic tax incentive to her foreign crony.

We want to not only commend the resilience of those leaders who stood against the president’s kleptomania but we are also urging those senators to remain firm on their decision to ably protect the interest of this land and its people and graduate from protecting foreign monopoly capital against ordinary Liberian entrepreneurs that are left struggling.

We maintain that the president’s request to grant the Farmington Hotel a 30-year tax break is not in the interest of our country. This request is the president’s way of making it known to the people that she came in 2006 not to transform this space. Instead, she came to build empires for a few and leave the many to be victims of economic deprivation and inevitable poverty.

Why give a company that has in its employ not more than 200 Liberians such a generous tax break? In fact, according to FPA and the Daily Observer, during the ECOWAS Summit, the hotel had 180 employees. But right after the summit, 40 workers were laid off. So why the special preference when the interest of the country is not reflected in such arrangement?

Tax breaks should be given when there are features that reflect national interest, for example, the state should own not less than 40 percent of the company. With this arrangement, even if the company has not employed many Liberians who can pay personal income taxes to the government, Liberia will still benefit not less than 40 cents from every dollar the company amasses in profit. Such profits to the government can be injected into our budget to build schools, hospitals, and roads.

However, we didn’t have such arrangement and we thank those lawmakers for taking the bull by the horn to initially reject the president’s request to have George Abi Jaoudi make millions while the state depends on taxes from struggling Liberians, loans from international financial institutions, grants, aids, and goodwill from friendly nations.

Featured photo courtesy of David Stanley

Moses Uneh Yahmia

Moses Uneh Yahmia is a senior at the University of Liberia. He studies Political Science and Economics with an emphasis on International Relations.

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