All articles about 夜上海论坛ZG

Are we doing enough?

first_img continue reading » Credit unions kicked off 2019 with another strong first quarter. Although lending activity is slowing versus a year ago, membership growth — a key indicator of future growth potential — remains above 4% over the past 12 months. The 12-month asset growth rate of 6.3% picked up from the rate posted in the first quarter of 2018, largely driven by the solid 5.8% increase in share balances. Earnings and capital levels are rising, with return on assets reaching 95 basis points in the first quarter and the net worth ratio at 11.15%.By traditional measures, credit unions are stronger than ever. The industry’s $1.5 trillion balance sheet is healthy and growing. Capital tops $175 billion. Increased advertising by credit unions has elevated the visibility of the industry, and more than one million new members are joining each quarter. Market share in leading products such as auto loans and first mortgages continues to trend higher.Given the industry’s momentum since the Great Recession, there’s a risk that complacency could set in. Success can lead organizations to pull back a bit from the activity that drove recent results. That’s one reason that repeat champions in sports are typically the exception, not the norm.That’s why I was encouraged by the answer to a question posed in a recent planning session I facilitated. The title said it all: “Are we doing enough?” Through this planning session and others, I’ve found that credit unions are continuing to push forward, looking to build on their success and increase their impact. There are too many opportunities to support members and communities to slow down. As cooperatives, they must continue to address ever-changing member needs. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Importers Protest Deliberate Delays at Freeport

first_imgPandemonium erupted yesterday when news spread that importers in Monrovia have blocked the Waterside commercial hub, demanding reduction in taxes the government has recently imposed on their goods.The situation nearly brought the entire commercial activities at the Freeport of Monrovia and Water Street to a standstill when some of the importers forced stores and petty traders to close down and leave the vicinity in solidarity with the protesters.The protesters blamed their action on difficulties they experience in clearing their goods from the port. They claimed that the process to release containers is associated with illegal financial deals during clearing and forwarding.Several of the frustrated importers said they have tried to clear their containers for the festive season, but customs authorities had levied high fees on each of the containers, amounts none of them was willing to pay.“You see this whole container issue is making me mad, because our government should have known by this time that we are trying to improve the economy, so I am surprised that our containers have overstayed at the port,” Morris Johnson, a consignee voiced out in anger. “Some of the containers,” he said, were sent by overseas business partners to their Liberian counterparts. “For which some of us took the lead to free those containers, but the government agents have created bottleneck to delay the clearing process,” he added.According to Johnson, the port charges US$5,000 to release a container; and added that after making the payment, the goods would still be detained by customs officers seeking kickbacks. He said some of the containers carried only toys for children, while others rarely contain heavy goods such as used vehicles and household materials for family members.“Until the government can intervene directly by restructuring the system, we will continue our protest; and no one, we dare, should open any business here.”Some of the protesters have also blamed authorities at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for the new regulation on in-bound money transfers, for which money transfer agents would pay 25 percent in local currency, calling it “unacceptable.”They also blamed the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), the Ministry of Commerce and its surrogate, Bureau Veritas (BIVAC) and the APM Terminals, for the increase in clearing and forwarding.It can be recalled that importers recently expressed frustrations over difficulties they experienced getting their goods into the country via the Free Port of Monrovia. Most of the importers abandoned their consignments at the Port due to said frustrations.Madam Lucia Moore, another businesswoman who trades in used cars, said she brought in a 40ft container with several items to sell for the festive season, but that the high storage charges have delayed its clearing from the Freeport.She has since attempted to free her container and, although she has spent over US$10,000, the container is still being held at the port. Although the vehicle was not released, it still accrued an additional fee of US$600 “as storage fees for only three weeks,” she complained. In view of yesterday’s situation, LRA meanwhile informed the business community and the general public that the Freeport of Monrovia and all customs and tax offices across the country remain open to the public for normal business contrary to rumors that activities at the Freeport have been shut down. The LRA, in a release, said the European Union is not conducting any customs inspection services at the port or at any other customs offices in Liberia, as it has been alleged in the media by few importers.The LRA said the European Union, at the request of the Government of Liberia, is providing the Customs Department technical assistance worth over 2 million euros through a private consulting firm. The LRA, through technical coaching by the contract consultants, has been able to independently uncover potential revenue leakage at the Freeport of Monrovia. The source of the revenue leakage is several small scale importers mainly from China and the United States who have provided false declarations and fake commercial invoices to customs. None of the shipments in question underwent the required pre-shipment inspection, contrary to claims in the media by few importers, adding that the “LRA would like to remind the business community and the general public that false declaration and fake documentation is a crime punishable by the Laws of Liberia. The public is therefore encouraged to make voluntary andtruthful declarations to the tax authority in order to avoid embarrassment. The LRA remains at the service of the business community and the public for tax education as we facilitate legitimate trade in a fair, lawful and transparent manner,” the revenue authority said. Ministries of Commerce, the CBL and the APM management are yet to comment on claims by the protestors.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more