Date: 13 January, 1995
Sent by: Liberian Studies Association List <LSA-L@uga.cc.uga.edu>
From: Dr. Ijoma Robert Flemister <ijoma@INFINET.COM>
(a) After a protracted civil conflict in which many paid with their lives in creating a level playing field for freedom and democracy, the Republic of Liberia, in honoring these brave sons and daughters, now yearns for men and women of character, resolve and integrity to lead it into the twenty-first century.
(b) Accordingly, the Free Democratic Party is founded as a party of vision and hope, not for some Liberians but for all Liberians, dedicated to providing Liberia with a new breed of leadership capable of interacting with a modern world of investment and consumption that honors "Made in Liberia".
(c) We stand committed to manage changed attitudes, to renew social concepts, to institutionalize economic innovations as well as to offer flexible, dynamic and creative policies. Our fundamental goal is to improve the quality of our lives and to share equitably in the benefits of economic prosperity.
(a) Over the past ten years Liberia has been burdened by mis-management of its natural, fiscal and human resources, leading to a national product real growth rate of under 2 percent, a national product per capita of less than 200 USD, an inflation rate of over 12 percent, and an unemployment rate of over 40 percent.
(b) Civil conflict over the past five years has prevented exports of over 5 billion USD, blocked imports of over 4 billion USD, and consumed potential national government budget revenues of over 2 billion USD.
(c) Accordingly, world commerce has not received the benefits of Liberia's rubber processing, food processing, construction materials, furniture, palm oil processing, iron ore, diamonds, fishing, timber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava, sugarcane, bananas, sheep, goats, maritime organization, financial institutions, or national character.
(a) The Free Democratic Party has outlined in its Platform the keys to Liberia's economic development and freedom from poverty which include an appropriate policy environment, sound institutions, good governance, free and open flow of capital, adequate investment and savings, the availability of appropriate productive technologies, and access by the population to adequate food, health care, education, individual opportunity, and housing.
(b) Additionally, we have outlined the necessary elements of reconstructing Liberia's economic vitality in our Investment and Infrastructure Profile which addresses public infrastructure and private industrial development. To facilitate broad-based, sustainable national action for development benefiting all the people, the Free Democratic Party will also submit a draft Bill of Empowerment and Decentralization to the National Legislature for immediate consideration when it convenes following elections of national unity.
NOW, THEREFORE, WE, THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, Free Democratic Party, Republic of Liberia, acting under the authority vested in us by the Constitution and rules of the Free Democratic Party, do hereby proclaim:
(a) The Free Democratic Party offers a strategic economic policy that helps the population of the Republic of Liberia become participants in the economic and political life of the Republic, thus creating markets, eliminating poverty and increasing individual opportunity. Our economic policy presents a ten year goal to strengthen markets, expand access and opportunity, invest in people, establish a national product real growth rate of more than 15 percent, grant a national product per capita of more than 1000 USD, accept an inflation rate of less than 2 percent, and allow for an unemployment rate of less than 5 percent.
(b) We offer an enabling environment of policies, regulations and laws that continually addresses policy and regulatory impediments to development of markets and exports.
(c) We offer a focus on the development and delivery of technology, including agricultural technologies appropriate to small farmers; enhanced food security at the household and community level; increased access of women to employment, land, capital, and technology; and, better wellbeing of disadvantaged peoples.
(d) We offer an environment that addresses health services, particularly in the area of basic, preventive, and reproductive health care; education systems, especially primary education for girls and women; and, technical and business skills supported by access to modern information technology.
(a) The Free Democratic Party affirms that international participation in its Investment and Infrastucture Profile is facilitated by the strength and solidity of Liberia's public and private institutions. Our objective is better institutions, legal codes that are coherent, courts that can enforce their decisions, a bureaucracy that is effective and responsive to the individual, and a telecommunications network that provides seamless connectivity to the global information infrastructure.
(b) We have an interest only in economic growth that is sustainable and does not depend on constant infusions of grants or subsidized financing from sources external to Liberia.
(c) Accordingly, we offer increases in productivity that do not rely on increased exploitation of workers; an agricultural sector that creates surpluses and increased rural incomes; a viable urban sector that generates jobs, provide essential services, accommodate migration, and boost productivity; and our Empowerment and Decentralization Act which mandates greater involvement of individuals and communities in political and economic decisions that affect their wellbeing.
(a) To support international participation in the economy of Liberia, our objective is to work with international institutions, non governmental organizations, foreign governments, world communities, Bretton Woods institutions, individuals, investors, multinational corporations, and other donors to create an enabling environment that systematically and consciously encourages individual initiative and choice in the private sector, excellence in the public sector, trade expansion and promotion, and relief and elimination of external debt by expanding the scope and value of debt conversion.
(b) Accordingly, the economic strategy of the Free Democratic Party offers a worldwide network of representatives for the introduction, promotion, merchandising and distribution of products "Made in Liberia".
(c) Additionally, we offer to channel direct foreign investment to Liberia by elimination of restrictive tariff, tax or institutional barriers; application of United States accounting principles; raising capital from international investors via American Depository Receipts listings on United States stock exchanges; granting tax exemption on capital gains; guaranteeing unconditional transferability of dividends or profit; guaranteeing against expropriation without appropriate and prompt compensation; institutionalization of any seaport or airport, industrial, manufacturing, agricultural, financial or telecommunication zone in Liberia under free port principles; and, providing full participation in a borderless capital market. Trade disputes will be settled in accordance with the rules and procedures for arbitration of the United Nations Commission of International Trade Law.
Government by The Free Democratic Party will institute measures to upgrade the banking system to mobilize savings for investment; broaden access to credit; diversify financial instruments and services; remove public sector monopoly on financial institutions; and, facilitate direct and portfolio equity investment flows. Technologies such as the Inter-Bank On-Line System will enable electronic banking delivery and efficient international transactions.
Domestic fiscal policy will offer a constant review of the tax structure ensuring its effectiveness in achieving fundamental purposes of revenue collection and promotion of economic growth. Highlights include low taxes on personal income; tax exemption on interest and dividend payments; properly safeguarded depreciation allowances; duty free importation of capital and investment property; and, equitable real estate and user taxes.
We offer that in consideration of rules established under the World Trade Organization, Liberia will make such modifications or continuance of any existing duty, such continuance or rate reduction of existing duty-free or excise treatment, or such additional duties, as are determined to be required or appropriate to carry out a policy of Open Investment in Liberia.
(a) Economic strategy for the Investment and Infrastructure Development of Liberia will constitute the Enterprise Council, comprised of investors and representatives of industry, academia, government, and labor, to codify the systems approach to regional development, sectoral planning, transportation, telecommunications, housing, environment, agriculture, industry, education, health, finance, capital, and business credit financing. A major priority will be to examine recent technological developments and innovations in order to discover the most promising areas for new endeavours that would broaden the base of economic power in all areas of Liberia.
(b) The Liberia Trust, comprised of representatives of local government, the Chiefs Convention, and the financial sector, will be established containing all active, surveyed, determined, prospective and reserve deposits of diamond, gold, silver, uranium, petroleum, timber, clay, silica, barite, kyanite, iron ore, and any other natural resource, to guarantee direct foreign investment in infrastructure and industrial development activity.
Economic strategy for the Investment and Infrastructure Development of Liberia will include the promulgation of the Atlantic Forum providing for open capital transfers; technology sharing; complete implementation of the global information infrastructure; intellectual property regime fair rights and benefits; free movement of persons and goods; and, free trade between Liberia and all nations rimming the Atlantic Ocean.
The Free Democratic Party fosters a National goal of the Republic of Liberia being a highly advanced and economically self-sufficient industrial nation in prosperous peace.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, We have hereunto set our hands this this first day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-five, and of the Independence of the Republic of Liberia the one hundred and forty-seventh.
The Executive Committee FREE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, Republic of Liberia
Rod Nyennatee Lewis...........Chairman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fayah J. S. Gbollie...........Vice Chairman
Ijoma Robert Flemister........Secretary General (email@example.com)
T. Kanboe Bestman.............Deputy Secretary General
George Kofa...................Treasurer W.
Krejarda Lewis.............Deputy Treasurer
Faate Kiawu...................Public Affairs Coordinator
Robert Draper.................Deputy Public Affairs Coordinator
George O. Pajibo..............Chairman, County Organizers
Sam Jacobs....................Vice Chairman, County Organizers