LIBERIA: EDTP hosts ‘Business Talk’ to Empower Liberian Businesswomen
The Economic Development Training Program (EDTP) organized a one-day workshop aimed at empowering Liberian businesswomen, who are engaged into small and medium-scale businesses.
Ms. Louisa Walker, a representative of EDTP, said the economy depends on the women. “Women know how best to manage. They think ahead of their male counterparts. The men actually think about now, but the women think about the future. So, if we are going to develop as a country, we need the women to be empowered and we all need to put hands around each other.”
The EDTP, which is being led and sponsored by Ms. Elizabeth Meatta Armstrong, a Liberian businesswoman and Business Consultant, organized a “Business Talk” that approximately 50 women attended and had interactive discussions with their lecturers.
Ms. Armstrong was seen having one-on-one talks with the women. According to Ms. Walker, Ms. Armstrong’s one-on-one talk with the women was intended to personally know what type of businesses that they are engaged into, their capitals and what pieces of advice she could offer to them.
“This workshop is subsequent to what we had last year during the Bicentennial, which was the International Bicentennial Women’s Conference. So, we thought on moving it from that level to this level to listen to our women who are into businesses: to know their challenges and other problems and what they need to move forward.”
Ms. Armstrong held the Business Talk in partnership with JAZBLU, MAJWAH’s (Learning Lab), Phoenix Computer Consultants, LLC and Armstrong & Associates. The EDTP, INC also invited the LRA to come and provide basic tax knowledge to the women.
“We brought in the LRA to educate these women tax payment and business registration processes. Most of these women are into businesses but they don’t know that they need to be registered. Some of them know but they don’t know the amount and they are scared thinking that the amount is plenty. So, we brought in the LRA to educate them. We learned a lot,” Ms. Walker added.
The LRA was represented by Mr. Prince Williams, Supervisor, Macro Tax Division. Williams stressed that the engine of growth of the Liberian economy depends largely on women and others doing small and medium-size businesses.
He called for more attention to be paid to Liberians and others who are in those categories of businesses.
“In most economies, you have the small business owners who are in the majority. We have over 80,000 small tax holders in the Liberian economy. The large and medium taxpayers are just few. And, if the economy should move, if the economy should be booming, I think the small tax and macro taxpayers are the ones to be empowered so that they would be able to pay their fair share to the Liberian Government,” Williams emphasized.
He categorized the taxpayers into large, medium, small, and macro (petit traders), who are further into A, B, and C categories.
“For the A, those small shops that have roofs, walls and doors that can lock, they pay fees, which is considered their taxes. They pay L$2400 annually. The B category are those with umbrella coverings. They store their goods in warehouses and bring them outside daily. Their fee is L$1200 annually. And the C category, are those who carry their goods in tubs on their heads and some push wheelbarrows around. They are to pay L$480. The law says every income must be taxed.” He was responding to a concern from one of the women, who asked concerning the tax for those selling in wheelbarrows around.
Two of the participants, Princess Nimely and Julian C. Lawrence thanked Ms. Armstrong for organizing the Business Talk in which they “learned a lot”.
Princess: “I am grateful for the workshop. It added some things to my knowledge, and it reminded me about some of the things that I already know. I was encouraged today that as a businessperson, we ought to pay taxes because government relies on our taxes to do lots of things. I also learn that as a businessperson, you must register your business because you might have partners who will want to do business with you when all your documents are set.”
For Ms. Lawrence, who is into the catering business, she said she has been running her business for a while now but have not had the courage to register it. “The LRA fellow today opened my mind to go and register my business and get my tax clearance that will help to get contract.”
Both women promised to get all their legal documents for their businesses.