Liberia: Poverty in the midst of plenty
Liberia was once a byword for civil war, then for the deadly disease Ebola, but an influential think tank says it could bounce back from crisis if it makes much better use of its natural resources.
In a landmark report to be published on March 17, the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) argues that Liberia earns so little from its iron ore exports.
The government is also accused of not distributing mining revenues in a fair and transparent way.
The SDI report is called “Poverty in the Midst of Plenty,” and is based on interviews that the group conducted between 2013-2014 with local communities affected by mining contracts between the Liberian government and major companies, including ArcelorMittal.
It reveals that ministers give far too generous tax breaks to investors, which violates the country’s revised Revenue Code. For example, while the Revenue Code requires multinationals to pay 30-percent income taxes on all corporate profits, ArcelorMittal and other operators pay only 25 percent.