NIC Chair-designate Faces Public Skepticism

first_imgMrs. Etmonia David-Tarpeh, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s choice for the Chairmanship of the Liberia National Investment Commission (LNIC), has daunting tasks ahead to reawaken the spirit of the Commission and put it back on track to generate and attract more foreign and domestic investors, investment analysts have said.Upon embarking upon her new portfolio, the new NIC Chair-designate will have to convinced the public that she is the right person for the job.But until then, pundits believe that the new NIC Chair-designate, lacks business experience or business development strategies,  including the ability to attract strong foreign direct investments to Liberia.“Until she can prove me wrong, but this woman is out of touch with the local business community, least to say foreign investors,” said this economist on condition of anonymity.    The Liberian leader nominated her friend on November 16, but she still has to wait for confirmation by the Liberian Senate. If confirmed, Mrs. Tarpeh will replace Acting NIC Chair Mr. George Wisner who is also Executive Director of the Commission. Mr. Wisner took over as Acting Chairman of NIC after President Sirleaf removed former Chairman O. Natty B. Davies. But, Mrs. Tarpeh, who has spent her entire life working in the education sector in Liberia and in international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), has been criticized for displaying poor performance as Minister of Education of Liberia. Madam Tarpeh faced similar criticism when she served as Minister of Youth and Sports few years ago where most of the country’s youths said she was out of touch.  Before joining Ellen Sirleaf’s government, Madam Tarpeh held various high-level positions with Plan International in several African countries, served as National Director for World Vision International and worked as the Associate Director for Education at the Peace Corps in Liberia. She is a former director for Hilton VanEe International School in Monrovia. Many people are concerned that Mrs. Tarpeh, the President’s new choice for the Chairmanship of the NIC, does not have the contacts and influence needed to pull the strings and transform the NIC,  judging from her performance at both the ministries of Youth &Sports and Education, respectively. “I think that the President has once again slipped by appointing her friend to head the NIC. The NIC is not like some of the public institutions around here. This entity must be run by individual or individuals who have the contacts internationally and locally to attract potential foreign and domestic investors,” an insider at the NIC anonymously said. The Chairman of NIC has a core responsibility to generate investment locally and to attract foreign direct investments (FDIs).The Commission’s former Chairman, Dr. Richard V. Tolbert, a Wall Street veteran and nephew of slain Liberian President Richard R. Tolbert, attracted over US$15 billion FDIs to Liberia during his chairmanship of the Commission. Mr. Tolbert is praised by NIC employees and investors for his innovation and personal contacts with most of the foreign and local investors whom he is believed to have known from his days on Wall Street, New York  and Liberia. Dr. Tolbert, formerly of Mesurado Group of Companies, a conglomeration of local manufacturers owned by the Tolberts, many people believe, had the niche to make the NIC relevant to investors and potential investors. The National Investment Commission was created by an Act of the National Legislature on September 6, 1979 and amended on July 19, 2010 to promote and coordinate investment related activities in all sectors of the Liberian economy. The Commission is comprised of six Commissioners headed by the Chairman, who is the administrative head of the Secretariat and has cabinet-level ranking. With the vision to aspire to be the premier dynamic investment promotion agency for a sustainable, vibrant, and inclusive economy in Liberia, the NIC’s mission is to promote, attract, facilitate and retain quality investments in Liberia.Part of the role of NIC is to accompany investors throughout all phases of their investment projects, facilitating meetings, assisting investors in navigating as efficiently as possible the regulatory and establishment procedures, and maximizing investor opportunities through dedicated programs in business linkages, development of special economic zones (SEZ) and incentives. Beyond its role of investment promotion, the NIC also chairs the government of Liberia’s Inter-Ministerial Concessions Committee (IMCC), which oversees and coordinates the entire investment concessional review processes and its due diligence functions. The NIC is the arm of the government that helps domestic and foreign investors navigate through the Liberian marketplace to ensure business success.The Commission expects that as Liberia continues to grow, large investments will continue to increase, particularly in natural resources and cash crops. Investments in the service sector are also expected to increase considerably.  The Liberia National Investment Commission (LNIC) along with other partners in government works to ensure that while unlocking Liberia’s natural resources, the country’s national interest is safeguarded,  jobs are created, and access to capital, new technologies, markets, and world-class training and business development opportunities are accelerated. Contracts negotiated by the Inter-Ministerial Concessions Committee (IMCC) since 2006 have led to an increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow. All key steps in the concession award procurement process are guided by the IMCC, which is chaired by the Chairman of the LNIC and includes permanent committee members from the ministries of State, Finance, Justice, and Planning and Economic Affairs.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Whole Grain Waffles

first_imgIngredients Eggs (beaten)2 Skim Milk1.5 cup Canola Oil¼ cup Apple Sauce (unsweetened)¼ cup Vanilla Extract1 tsp Whole Wheat Pastry Flour1 cup Flax Seed Meal½ cup Wheat Germ¼ cup All- purpose Flour¼ cup Baking Powder4 tsp Sugar1 tbsp Salt¼ tsp Preparation In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Beat in whole wheat pastry flour, flax seed meal, wheat germ, all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt until batter is smooth. Preheat a waffle iron, and coat with cooking spray. Pour batter into waffle iron in batches, and cook until crisp and golden brown. (Courtesy: www.allrecipes.com)last_img read more

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Nova Scotia argues that supported housing for disabled is not a right

first_imgHALIFAX – Nobody has the unfettered right to live in government-assisted housing of their own choosing, a lawyer for the Nova Scotia government told a human rights board of inquiry Monday.“It is not a right guaranteed by the government,” said Kevin Kindred, the counsel for the Attorney General, during opening arguments in a case advocates say could help people with disabilities move into supported housing in the community.The inquiry is considering the case of two people seeking to move out of locked-door, hospital-like settings and a third complainant who has died since the case started.Vince Calderhead, the lawyer for the three complainants, told the inquiry that Nova Scotians with disabilities who are kept in institutions are the “last vestiges of the … county asylum” where impoverished citizens were once housed.Calderhead said it contravenes the Human Rights Act to keep people with intellectual and physical disabilities in facilities where they lack control over their own lives, can seldom go out, and may be hundreds of kilometres from their family.He cites sections that prohibit discrimination in the provision of government services on the basis of physical or mental disability.“When the government provides social assistance to people in Nova Scotia, the way it provides it to people with disabilities cannot be worse than people without disabilities. That is the essence here,” he told reporters after the morning session.However, Kindred argued before inquiry chairman John Walter Thompson that while the province supports the principle of community-based care, it’s not a human right as defined in the legislation.Housing programs offered to people on social assistance also have limits and waiting lists, said Kindred: “When the government does provide housing solutions it can only do so in a way that involves limited choices and a system of limited capacity.”The arguments being made to the board of inquiry about waiting lists and inadequate services are better made to the minister of Community Services, argued the provincial lawyer.“You’re here in your role as a board of inquiry … and that role isn’t to make policy decisions about reform or how to best serve the needs of people with disabilities … This is not a public inquiry of the government’s programs for persons with disabilities as much as sometimes the complaint seems to be set up with something like that in mind,” he said.“Most social problems the government is called to address are not discrimination.”Still, the case, which will be heard over the next two months, is already surfacing details on the difficulties of the lives of people with disabilities in the province.Two nieces of Sheila Livingstone, the complainant who died during various delays in the case, were on hand as Calderhead told her story to the inquiry chairman.The lawyer said Livingstone had lived in institutions for much of her life, but for 18 years did well in a small options home.When she was temporarily hospitalized, she lost her place in the community and remained in a locked-door facility for a decade.“After a series of assaults on her, and complaints about those assaults, she was offered a placement not in the Halifax area but in Yarmouth. Why Yarmouth? Because there was a bed,” said Calderhead.The location of the supported home was 300 kilometres from her friends and family.The lawyer said he has documentation from the province showing from 2011 officials believed she could have lived in the community.“In the fall of 2016 she died with no family member around. … That is a feature of the province’s treatment of people with disabilities,” the lawyer told the judge.After the hearing, Jackie McCabe-Sieliakus, Livingstone’s niece, said she’s hoping the hearing prompts changes.“A lot of people are in the system like Sheila. Sheila suffered a lot and I think the government needs to step up and everybody needs to hear the story,” she said.“It won’t make a difference to Sheila now. But it will make a difference to other people.”The other complainants in the case are 45-year-old Joseph Delaney and 46-year-old Beth MacLean. Both have said in court documents they should be permitted to move from the hospital-like settings into small homes where assistance is provided in areas such as meals and personal care.The Disability Rights Coalition, an advocacy group for people with disabilities, is also participating in the case.A spokeswoman for the Department of Community Services has said it is working to improve its Disability Support Program and to create more small-options homes.The province says a new program called Flex Independent is making efforts to ensure that the community-based supports are in place and is moving people to them when it is safe to do so.The Liberal government has said it is investing $4.2 million to develop eight small option, community-based homes over the next two years, bringing the total from 222 to 230 homes.There were about 504 people awaiting some form of support from the Department of Community Services as of last Thursday, and 1,024 people awaiting a transfer to a different housing option or location.The human rights case resumes hearings on Feb. 13 at a hotel meeting room in Halifax.last_img read more

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