Commerce Minister Axel Addy
Govt. Loses $116m In Revenue To Ebola Epidemic
By Calvin Brooks
MONROVIA, October 19 (LINA) - Commerce Minister Axel Addy has disclosed that government has lost US$116 million in revenue to the Ebola crisis as a short-term impact.
Minister Addy also explained that the World Bank estimates a catastrophic economic blow to the already fragile Liberian state, whose Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is falling dramatically and could be negative by 2015, if the Ebola virus is not contained.
The Commerce Minister made the disclosure Friday at the Liberia-United States Business Development Forum held at local hotel in Sinkor near Monrovia.
He observed that despite the stringent measures put in place at various ports of entry to mitigate any risk of Ebola infection, insurance premiums are on the increase for commodities importation and there has been a drop in commercial air traffic into country.
He noted that business operators are finding it difficult to provide goods and services to customers, noting that government is the biggest spender now and this has a dramatic impact on the private sector.
He noted that this scenario could lead to steady inflation in food prices due to shortage and also create panic buying and speculation.
Minister Addy stressed that the outbreak of the Ebola virus is impacting the nation economic growth negatively and hoped that Liberian entrepreneurs will take advantage of the opportunity provided by the Liberia-US Business Development Forum to revamp their businesses.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Commander of the United States Africa Command, Peter Corey said the American troops would like to work with the Librarian business Community to help build partnership capacity in countries which they operate.
Commander Corey noted that the troops are in Liberia to help the government battle the Ebola disease, but while here they could promote and develop capacity in the business sector.