Rep. Domah has contrasting view about the division of Nimba-Says ‘majority Nimbaians’ will decide The creation of 5 new counties in 1964 by President Tubman was intended to address the issue of unequal representation. Prior to 1964 Liberia was divided into five counties, Grand Cape Mount, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Sinoe and Maryland, 3 provinces, and 4 territories namely Marshall, Bomi Territory, Gibi Territory, Kru Coast Territory and Sasstown Territory.The provinces were Central Province, which includes present- day Nimba and Bong counties, Western Province which comprises present-day Lofa and Gbarpolu counties, and Eastern Province, made up of present-day, River Gee, Grand Gedeh, and Grand Kru counties.Until 1964, Nimba was part of Central Province, which included present-day Bong County. Since Nimba gained county status, it has never been divided as has been the case with Grand Gedeh, Maryland and Lofa counties. There has never even been a discussion about a division of Upper and Lower Nimba County, unlike Bong County where a presumed dichotomy exists between what is referred to as Upper Bong and Lower Bong.Nimba, the most populous, has been making enviable strides in economic development. But since 2011, Nimba County has played hosts to an intense power struggle (bickering, squabbling), with some residents calling for a split which on the one hand would create Lower Nimba and, on the other, Upper Nimba.Since 2017 the power play has intensified, leading to widespread debates among the County’s lawmakers and beyond.In the aftermath of claims and counter-clams, Nimba County District #7 Representative, Roger Domah, has told the Daily Observer that though he “seriously stands against the split,” he believes that majority of his kinsmen will decide the fate of the County.The UP lawmaker frowned on the idea of splitting the County, adding: “I support a united Nimba County instead.”Domah has advised the leadership of Nimba County Caucus not to meddle in citizens’ politics suggesting the County’s split, but to allow the citizens to make the decision all by themselves. He however said it would be at the disadvantage of the citizens to divide the County.Rep. Domah replaced Representative Worlea-Saywah Dunah, who did not seek re-election after serving for 12 years at the 52nd and 53rd Legislature respectively.Reports say the “split” debate in the County is being masterminded by some influential people, especially members of the Legislature from southeastern Liberia, to relegate Senator Prince Y. Johnson’s somehow unchallenged role as the sole “Political Godfather of the County.”Even though there has not been any law up to press time yesterday to officially divide the County, there are also reports that the County Electoral District #5 Representative, Samuel G. Korgar, and some southern Lawmakers are among those pushing for the implementation of a law that would see Nimba County divided into two.Besides seeking to oust a single man (Senator Prince Johnson) as the political godfather of the County, they also claim the division would create an avenue (way, path) for additional seats in the upper house of parliament (senate).However, there has been stiff resistance from majority of the citizens, who believe that the law, if implemented, would break down the unity and the political prowess of the County, increasing ethnic tension.It may be recalled that on March 10, during a week-long Reconciliation Program of Rep. Domah, Sinoe County District #2 Representative Jay Nagbe Sloh argued that sometimes division is necessary to promote infrastructural developments, though he claims not to support the division of Nimba.“I am not supporting division of the County, but Montserrado has six senators today because they divided themselves,” Rep. Sloh argued.He said Bomi and Margibi counties have two senators each, while River Cess and River Gee, which broke away from Bassa and Grand Gedeh counties respectively, also have two senators each.“You can still be divided and maintain your unity,’ the Sinoe lawmaker indicated.Since March 10, Rep. Sloh’s statement has left many with the belief that the division of Nimba is being masterminded by lawmakers from the southeast. Some have pointed fingers at Senate Pro-tempore Albert Chie, who is believed to be one of the main protagonists supporting the division of Nimba and what is foreseen by some as the County’s subsequent collapse.In an interview with Senator Thomas Grupee concerning the threats of a Gbi and Doru incorporation into River Cess County, he (Grupee) pointed fingers at Senator Francis Paye of River Cess for advancing the idea. He said that Paye orchestrated the splitting of Nimba in order to gain political relevance, because of promises made to his constituency.Nimba County is located in northeastern Liberia and shares borders with La Côte d’Ivoire in the East and the Republic of Guinea in the Northeast. One of 15 counties that comprise the first-level of administrative division, the County has six statutory districts. Sanniquellie serves as the capital with the area of the County measuring 11,551 square kilometres (4,460 sq mi), the largest in the nation. Ganta is the most populous city in Nimba County. As of the 2008 Census, it had a population of 462,026, making it the second most populous county.Named after Neinbaa Tohn Mountain, the tallest peak in the Nimba mountain range, Nimba County is also bordered by Bong and Grand Bassa counties to the west, River Cess County to the southwest, and Grand Gedeh County to the southeast.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Increased tariff on neutral spiritsLocal manufacturing companies involved in the production of pharmaceutical products are contending thatTwins Manufacturing Chemiststhe law does not require them to make an Excise Tax payment on the purchase of alcohol and are therefore demanding the removal of the burdensome tariff on their purchases.The tax should only be applied to alcohol that is consumed and is commonly known as a “sin tax”.Twins Manufacturing Chemists, which has been in existence for over 60 years, explained that the Excise Tax Act 2005 is only applicable to local manufacturers involved in the production of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products or petroleum products and not pharmaceutical products.“People who are not manufacturing spirits and other alcoholic products, the category Twins and NEW GPC falls into, they are not using these alcohols to make spirits and alcoholic beverages, we are using it to make medicine, we should not have to a pay the Excise Tax, that is our position on the whole matter,” Shafeez Ferouze of Twins Manufacturing stated.According to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) website, Excise Tax is charged on the following items: alcoholic beverages; tobacco products; petroleum products; and motor vehicles.Ram and McRae’s Value Added Tax and Excise Tax handbook also explains that the principal classes of goods on which the Excise Tax is payable are alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, petroleum products, and new and used vehicles.Local manufacturers are now bearing the brunt of an onerous 40 to 65 per cent increase in the Excise Tax on the purchase of alcohol.Last year, several manufacturing companies expressed concerns over the alarmingly high Excise Tax charged on the alcohol they would usually purchase from Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) and had consequently requested the Government’s intervention to alleviate the burden plaguing the local manufacturing sector.Instead of getting relief from paying the 40 per cent in Excise Tax, manufactures now have to pay an incredulous 65 per cent in Excise Tax for the neutral spirits they buy locally for use in the production of their goods and services.The alcohol purchased by manufacturers is referred to as extra-neutral alcohol or neutral spirits and is measured in Litres of Pure Alcohol (LPA). At the purchase strength of 96 per cent alcohol v/v (volume-volume percentage), it is considered only suitable for industrial use or further processing.Twins Manufacturing Chemists explained to Guyana Times that since the implementation of the Excise Tax, they have been lobbying but to no avail for relief, or at the very least, an explanation for the inconsistency with what is stipulated in the Act and what is being practiced.“Since 2007, we’ve been behind this… the issue is the Excise Tax, it ought to be removed for local manufacturers who are not producing alcoholic beverages,” Feroze said, noting that they never received a single response.With the current Administration, he lamented that instead of correcting the error, they have decided to raise the Excise Tax.“Instead of reviewing and removing, they (the Government) are increasing and imposing the Excise Tax,” he stated.He noted that if the manufacturing companies continue to pay the whopping Excise Tax on the purchase of the alcohol, then it will only be a matter of time before the costs are passed down to the consumers.Strangely, it is exceedingly cheaper to import the same product from Trinidad and Tobago because both the Excise Tax and Value Added Tax are waived by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) under the existing tax legislation as incentives for local manufacturing. But importation has to be done in bulk and this poses another cluster of challenges to local manufacturers.Therefore, any local businesses desirous of using alcohol as a raw material will have to endure the onerous tax locally or import foreign alcohol – an alternative that is coincidentally inimical to the interests of another local manufacturer and the Guyanese economy.