The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs is informing the entire public and all marketers that it has begun the relocation of marketers of the old Ma Juah Market in Vai Town.The market is being relocated in the old Liberia Tractor Company (LIBTRACO) building opposite the Georgia Pattern United Methodist Church on Water Street, UN Drive.According to an Executive Mansion statement, the new site has been refurbished to include everything expected of all modern markets that were previously lacking at the old Ma Juah Market in Vai Town. The new location will be dedicated later this week.The previously occupied premises will undergo a massive demolition exercise beginning tomorrow, the statement said.Meanwhile, all marketers who have not relocated to the new facilities at the old LIBTRACO building are asked to do so with immediate effect to avoid any hindrance to the exercise.Upon hearing of this development yesterday, our Business and Economy Desk conducted an interview with some marketers at the Ma Juah Market and this is what they told the Daily Observer:“We are disappointed over the process as well as the environment designated for the relocation. Already we are about 600 to 700 marketers occupying the vicinity given them temporarily in the Vai Town area, but the old LIBTRACO Building being processed for them can house only between 200- 250 marketers.” The marketers also complained of a “poor drainage system” in the new marketplace.Besides the drains being small, the marketers said that during heavy downpour of rain, people have to wear boots to enter the new premises. It is also no secret that during prolonged rainfall, the river overflows and runs through pipes that are connected to the building, thereby causing serious flooding and chaos.Mr. Bai S. Won-kulah, supervisor of the Ma Juah Market, who spoke to our Business Desk, said they are not against the development, even though a relocation process carries its own pains, losses and benefits. But if the process must be welcomed by the beneficiaries, somewhere better should be set aside, not that place –the old LIBTRACO Building—because the relocation has its own negative impact on business people.According to him, the gathering of marketers in the Vai Town vicinity is a long story which began initially on an Easter Sunday in 2006, when their market tables were broken down by the police under the directive of Madam Munah Sieh-Brown, then Police Director.The market supervisor said the current space used at Ma-Juah Market now was a space used by truckers and also a parking lot for vehicles transporting people to Maryland and Sinoe Counties. Upon negotiations made by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, They were told that the venue would be used as a temporary market site.Being aware of the decision to allow them to use that space temporarily, said Mr. Won-kulah, it was difficult for the market administrators to carry out any major improvements.Since 2006, he added, it was on August 19, 2014 that he received a call to appear at the Executive Mansion for a meeting with the President and that meeting was attended by the Minister of Gender and Development and the Liberia Marketing Association president. In that meeting, the President informed him that it was about time that the marketers leave the Vai Town location since there was an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country with Monrovia being the epicenter.“I appealed to her to let the Ebola outbreak subside before finalizing her decision, taking into consideration that the majority of the marketers have taken loans from Access Bank and every loan has a timeframe attached for its repayment. I pleaded with her not to make the pronouncement soon so that it did not cause us more frustration,” he said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
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A school on the outskirts of Hargeisa has become a draw for high-achievers from around Somaliland as well as a launching pad, sending these students on to some of the most prestigious schools around the world, the Voice of America (VOA) has reported.Mustapha Mohamed Ibrahim, a recent graduate of the Abaarso School of Science and Technology outside Hargeisa, helps tutor younger classmates in math problems they might encounter on the ACT, an American college entrance exam.Abaarso is an elite school that teaches students from seventh through 12th grades.The school is quite competitive — prospective seventh-graders must take an entrance exam. Nearly 600 students competed for the 50 seats for the grade. This year, 1,000 are expected to take the test.CurriculumThe school’s rigorous curriculum focuses on math, science and technology, and helps the students become conversant in English. The school costs $1,800 a year for those with Somali and Somaliland passports; more for those with other citizenship.School headmaster James Linville said 80 students are studying at or have been accepted to universities and secondary schools throughout the world, with nearly all of them on full scholarship.“It’s incredibly competitive to get scholarships as international students to these schools, and not only that, but it’s been a very long time since Somali-educated and Somali-raised students were able to get these scholarships,” Linville said.“So actually, when our first students got scholarships three years ago, they were the first in over a generation to be given scholarships to study in the U.S.,” he added.Currently there are 210 students at the school.Educational opportunities were limited for Somalilanders caught up in civil war from 1988 to 1991, and then stymied by lack of funds and political turmoil.OpportunitiesIbrahim, who was recently accepted to New York’s University of Rochester with a full scholarship, said he’s happy for opportunities that were beyond his parents’ reach.“For a kid whose parents never graduated from middle school, it is a very, very big deal getting accepted into universities in the States,” he said.Forty Abaarso alumni are in the United States, studying at schools such as Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgetown University, Amherst College and Carnegie Mellon University.Once abroad, the students are able to keep up with their international counterparts, Linville said.Abaarso students have a grade point average of 3.2 in college and prep school, and have scored “exceptionally” high on the SAT, another American college entrance exam,” he said, adding that is noteworthy.“Especially considering that at the time they took the SAT, they’ve been taking classes in English for three years, so, imagine sending an American kid to another country, asking them to take the national exam in three years and then scoring in the 80th or 90th percentile,” he said.School founderThe Abaarso school was started by Jonathan Starr, an American financier who took a trip to his uncle’s native Somaliland in 2008 and decided to open a school there, using $500,000 of his own money to do so.Since Abaarso opened in 2009, there have been three graduating classes of about 35 students each.The students say their hope is that they will bring their knowledge home to improve their country.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
By Bisi KlahPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has by proclamation declared Saturday, July 1, as International Day of Cooperatives to be observed throughout the country as a working holiday.She called on all Liberians as well as international organizations concerned to join the cooperative movement of Liberia through the Cooperative Development Agency (CDA) in executing appropriate programs befitting the observance of the day.Based on the principle of cooperation, cooperatives helped create new ethics and values in business and economics and are important in the world’s economic and social development, said a release from COOP. In 1895 ICA was formed, and since 1927 it observes the first Saturday of July as International Cooperative Day.In 1994 the United Nations recognized and reaffirmed that cooperatives were vital in the world’s economic, social and cultural development. However, two years earlier – on December 16, 1992 – the UN General Assembly proclaimed the first Saturday of July 1995 as the International Day of Cooperatives, marking the centenary of ICA’s establishment.She admonished the CDA to continue to play important roles in the country’s economic and social development which is vital to creating new ethics and sustaining values in business and cultural development.Cooperative enterprises are based on ethics, values, and a set of seven fundamental principles that keep people, rather than profit, at the center of their businesses.Cooperatives can be a self-help tool for people to create their own economic opportunities through the power of the collective and pull themselves out of poverty.They re-invest in communities in which they operate, securing not only the livelihoods of their members but also increasing the wealth of the community as a whole. By being sources of decent work, spaces for democracy and peace building, and an economic force (the top 300 cooperatives alone generate US$2.5 trillion in annual turnover, more than the GDP of France), cooperatives are truly a partner in transforming the world.To create awareness and share cooperative solutions for inclusive development, here, in Liberia, under the auspices of the CDA, the day’s activities will feature a Radio Talk Show.According to the CDA, the discussants, all agricultural experts with a focus on cooperative education, will delve on the topic “Inclusion” as the theme of 2017 International Cooperative Day.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
“We want the Liberian people to begin to feel that [Christmas] happiness and joy starting from October,” Weeks said.The Liberian economy might be a quite shabby and its political environment quite tense but, to Orange, it is the perfect time for a major splurge, aimed at strengthening the company’s position in the telecom market. Therefore, the company has launched a massive new promotion under the theme: “With Orange, Christmas Starts in October.” The new promotion was rolled out at a major press conference held at the company’s headquarters on Capital Bypass in Monrovia.According to Orange’s Corporate Communications Strategist, Dr. Kimmie Weeks, from October through December, the company would give away 10 brand new motorbikes and 5 new cars. “We know that Christmas is a time of happiness, love and bringing families together,” he said. “It is a special time in Liberia and we want the Liberian people to begin to feel that happiness and joy starting from October,” Weeks said. He said that, to bring the Christmas cheer to Liberians early this year, Orange would give away a brand-new motorbike every week, a brand-new vehicle every two weeks, and the grand prize a few days before Christmas.Orange, he said, had made it simple for its subscribers to be eligible to enter to competition. “All our subscribers have to do is to recharge once a week at least $1 and activate any Orange package to be eligible to win a bike; recharge at least once a week, two weeks in a row, to win a Ford or Renault vehicle; and recharge at least once a week for every week until December 21 to be eligible to win the Toyota RAV-4, valued at US$35,000.” Weeks added that to increase their chances, customers need to recharge more often with higher amounts, whether it is with scratch cards, e-recharge or Orange Money.In separate remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of Orange Liberia Mr. Mamadou Coulibaly said that he was extremely happy and proud about the launch of the new promotion. “the launching of the Orange ‘Christmas Starts in October’ promotion is a part of the Orange commitment to demonstrate to the Liberian people that Orange cares,” he said. “This is a very, very big investment for us as a company. However, it is something we are happy to do knowing that the lives of many, many Liberians will be positively impacted.”According to Orange, the first motorbike winner will be announced on October 23, and the first person will walk away with a brand-new vehicle on October 31.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Liberians want government to urgently derive solutions to economic downturnSigns of a halt to the continued fall of the Liberian currency against the US dollar appears nowhere in sight as the exchange rate continues to climb, with the Liberian dollar now trading at L$150 to US$1.Liberians including business people, caught in the dragnet of the current economic hardships, want the Liberian government to urgently derive practical solutions to the current economic downturn which is having disastrous consequences for the ordinary Liberian.A two-week survey of the foreign exchange market was conducted in several business districts in and out of Monrovia. The survey included Paynesville, Kakata, Gbarnga and Voinjama.Currently, the exchange rate of the Liberian dollar against the all-powerful American dollar is L$150 to US$1.As a result of this seemingly uncontrollable climb in the exchange rate, Liberians are encountering unbearable hardship in accessing money to purchase essential items like rice, vegetable oil, etc. Even locally produced food items are now being sold at prices beyond the reach of many, particularly those surviving at less than a dollar a day.Economic and financial analysts told the Daily Observer that an immediate intervention by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and key financial institutions in the country is required to restore sanity to the currency market.Owing to the sharp increase in the pump prices of gasoline and diesel fuel, which are being sold at a cost of L$500 per gallon at the moment, transport fares have dramatically been stepped up to all destinations in and outside Monrovia.Moreover, the recently commenced motor vehicle inspection exercise by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) is driving many vehicles off the streets, adding to the transportation woes of commuters.When the police vehicle inspection exercise started on Monday, June 11, several commercial and privately-owned vehicles were impounded for not processing their registration and insurance documents on the stipulated deadlines set by revenue and finance agencies.Police sources say because of the exercise, many commercial and privately-owned vehicles, not registered and covered by third party insurance as stipulated, have been keeping off the streets and driving at night hours mainly to evade possible police action.However, public reaction to the ongoing inspection exercise by the LNP has been mixed, with some applauding it and arguing that the country needs money for development, while others have shunned the exercise, describing it as “chopping” for police officers.Meanwhile, the latest transport fares from Paynesville Red-Light Market to Broad Street, central Monrovia, range between L$150 to L$200 in taxi cabs and L$90 to L$100 in mini buses.Prior to the sharp increment in petroleum products, commuters and business people were paying taxi cabs L$100 and L$70 in mini buses from Red-Light Market to Broad Street, central Monrovia.Civil servant Darlington B. Thomas, 45, of Paynesville Weaver Street noted that the CBL needs to really work meticulously with the various foreign exchange bureaux, to structure a single exchange rate and have law enforcement agencies monitor the transactions in all parts of the country.On the hike in transport fares, Mr. Thomas pointed out that there are some unscrupulous commercial drivers that are allegedly taking advantage of the current socioeconomic challenges to exploit and destroy the image of the Liberian government.Businessman Clarence B. Sackie Sr. intimated that the Liberian government needs to take proactive steps to work with well-seasoned experts in financial management, in order to shore up the business sector against the current economic downturn.“I personally want the CBL and other financial stakeholders to take a critical economic look at our foreign exchange sector and come out with genuine and durable solutions to our nightmare and hardships in our own country,” Mr. Sackie stressed.Madam Caroline George Cooper, 48, general merchandise dealer at the Waterside General Market in Monrovia, stated that every effort should be exerted by the CBL and MFDP officials to find permanent solutions to the unusual escalation of the foreign exchange rate.Besides, she added, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) must double or triple efforts aimed at regulating transport fares and enforcing all laws against violators caught in price hiking and commodity hoarding.Madam Cooper also stressed that the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) should exert all efforts to regularly brief Liberians on the global trend of oil prices in order to checkmate hoarding and illegal price hikes.It can be recalled that the Liberian government, through the Ministry of Commerce recently announced a reduction in tariffs for some basic commodities such as pig feet, chicken feet and mosquito coils.However, there are growing public concerns that the announced tariff reductions have had little or no effect on the cost of living generally. The rising cost of petroleum products on the Liberian market is said to be the chief culprit responsible for the hike in prices and the continued fall of the Liberian dollar against the United States dollar.The Ministry of Commerce has not, however, addressed itself to these latest claims. Meanwhile the Ministry of Commerce has vowed to continue with its inspection exercise which has resulted in the discovery of tainted and expired food items on the shelves of supermarkets in Monrovia.It can be recalled that recently, the Ministry of Commerce imposed a fine on the Abi Jaoudi supermarket for selling expired food items a charge which the business outfit strenuously denied, although the Abi Jaoudi supermarket did pay the imposed fine.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Mz MennehWhat a year, a year in which Liberia’s growing music industry has experienced and recorded more beef than any other years in the country’s history!This year, it is no longer beef between artistes only but also producers and top-rated promoters, with the last one involving Dj Blue, Double H of the BlueLinks label, versus Lewis McCarthy, the manager of late artist Quincy B.The sour beef, which has now split friends and ruined relationships, started after Lewis McCarthy accused Blue and Double H of allegedly killing his artist, has been frowned on by singer and writer Mz Menneh, who described it as “hindrance to the gains being made to build a strong music industry.”In a strongly worded statement issued to Daily Observer, the neo-traditional singer said beefing brings about hatred and hatred discourages people from working together for a good cause, a situation which is happening currently in the music industry.“Healthy competition is great to build cohesion, development, and progress for all of us as Liberians. Stop competing against each other in ways that do not build unity among us, and let’s find the best for ourselves through love, peace and positive feedbacks.“There is an old adage ‘liquids find their levels’; all of us will never be on the same level but that does not mean your level or mine is better or worse than the other. Together with all of our differences and collective ideas and potentials, we can create a better environment of respect and dignity for one another. Together we can, let’s stay the course. And avoid beef. Beef is killing the industry. We need unity to grow, not beef,” Mz Menneh said.Mz Menneh added it is very frustrating that artists are now focusing more on beef than quality songs that will expand the music landscape.“The industry we now have was not built on beef. It was built on unity and hard work. The pioneers know that beef could spawn hate and undermine their agenda of creating a better music industry for us. And this is what musicians, producers, and promoters need to understand,” she said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The running series, which began on Sept.4, is an informal group of low key, cross-country running races, consisting of six races and one relay, being held over an eight-week period. The series was created to develop the sport of cross-country running within the Peace Region.In the boy’s Grade 1-3 race category, Fort St John residents included first place winner Owen Barrow, as well as Tyler Webster and Tristen Bourassa. Alyssa and Sarah Webster both raced in the girls Grade 4-6 category, Norma Webster raced in the Women’s 35-49 category, and Barb Polehoykie and Joanne Gorman took part in the Women’s 50+ Master 2 division, placing first and second respectively.The aim of the running series is to encourage participation of athletes of all ages and skill levels. In order to be eligible for a series award, one must complete at least three races. If more than three are completed, the racers best three results will be counted.- Advertisement -Next week organizers are hoping to go to Grande Prairie for the final X-Country race in the series.
Five persons are now injured following a vehicular accident at Zeeburg Public Road on the West Coast of Demerara.According to information received, at around 12:00h on Saturday, a motorcar bearing registration plates PTT 5532, owned and driven by 50-year-old Shameer Rahaman, was proceeding East along the northern side of the road.One of the vehicles that was involved in the crashConsequently, another motor car bearing registration plates PLL 4407, owned and driven by 62-year-old Roger Levans, allegedly attempted to overtake another vehicle and came into the path of Rahaman.This resulted in a head-on collision between the two vehicles. Immediately after the collision, the occupants of both motorcars were rushed to the West Demerara Regional Hospital. The injured persons were identified as the two drivers, 47-year-old Ravindra Singh, 41-year-old Bibi Singh, and the wife of Roger Levans, 60-year-old Leila Levans.The couple, Roger and Leila Levans, was transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital. All of the injured persons were reported to be in stable condition.
Service Commission appointmentsOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday informed President David Granger that he has reservations about Paul Slowe being appointed to head the Police Service Commission. He explained to the Head of State that Slowe has “baggage” which may cause him to be biased in carrying out his duties.This discussion took place between the two leaders when they met at State House to discuss the appointment of the Public and Police Service Commissions.Thursday’s meeting was the first set of “meaningful consultations” these two leaders had to discuss the appointment of the two constitutional bodies since the National Assembly approved the nominees last month.Updating the media after the meeting, Jagdeo said he explained to the President that, in addition to Slowe being politically affiliated with the A Partnership National Unity (APNU), for whom he had campaigned during the 2015 national elections, the former Assistant Commissioner of Police, who had been denied a promotion before his 2010 retirement, also brings issues within the Guyana Police Force.“Now that he is going to head the Police Service Commission, I think he will bring two sets of baggage with him. One, the political approach to the job; that is, judging people based on politics; and secondly, he has a lot of interpersonal problems with many members of the Police Force, and old scores, I believe, to settle; and therefore that could harm his judgement,” Jagdeo outlined.The Opposition Leader noted that President Granger indicated that he would speak with Slowe to ensure that he acts impartially, and not “bring baggage to the job”.Slowe returned to the limelight last year when he was handpicked by the Head of State to carry out a commission of inquiry (COI) on the GPF’s handling of allegations in relation to the existence of a plot to assassinate the President. In his report, Slowe had recommended major reshuffling of the Force’s hierarchy, as well as sanctions against several high level ranks.The life of the previous Police Service Commission ended last September, and there have since been calls for appointment of the new Commission to be expedited, since the Force has lost nearly a dozen senior ranks to retirement.Jagdeo went on to say that, during Thursday’s meeting, the President and he also had discussions about other issues, including the appointment of a Police Commissioner, on which the Head of State said they would have consultants at a subsequent meeting.The Opposition Leader has said he nevertheless mentioned how he had gone about as Head of State to appoint a Police Commissioner during his regime.“I pointed out the way I approached the selection of the Police Commissioner when we selected Felix; the open, transparent ways. We [had gotten] the four top officers, send them off for training, ranking them, and then [Winston] Felix came out number one in the ranking…” Jagdeo related.In regard to the Public Service Commission, the Opposition Leader said, he also raised concerns stakeholders have indicated about the nominees for the Public Service Commission. Last month, the National Assembly approved Vincent Bowman and Mortimer Livan as nominees for the Commission, which expired back in August last year.“Some people called me yesterday, since they found out who the nominees were, and they indicated that they had some issues with some of the nominees. I had an obligation to bring these issues to the attention of the President. Nevertheless, I pointed out to him it’s his call, because he has to fulfill the constitutional requirement of meaningful consultation,” Jagdeo posited.At Thursday’s meeting with the Opposition Leader, the President was joined by State Minister Joseph Harmon and the Legal Affairs Minister, Attorney General Basil Williams; while Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira and Anil Nandlall accompanied the Opposition Leader to the meeting.