Ambitious Hotelier Wants GOL Empower Local Businesses

Eminent businessman, Prince Howard, a 44-year old Liberian, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Alvino Hotel which is situated in the densely populated city of Ganta, Nimba County, has stressed that only Liberians can build their own country, and as such, they must be empowered by the central government in the resuscitation of their nation’s economy.
One way of empowering Liberian businesses, Mr. Howard said, is for the Liberian government to not only decentralize its operation, but also in the conduct of its training and related programs, using the privately-owned hotels and other hospitality facilities across the country.
The acclaimed Hotel Alvino is the first post-war hotel to operate in Ganta, Nimba County, Northern region of Liberia.
CEO Howard strongly believes that the central government will do well if its regular conferences, training workshops, and other seminars often held in the nation’s capital, Monrovia, are decentralized to other parts of the country, using Liberian owned hospitality facilities including hotels, restaurants, among many others for local entrepreneurs to receive turnovers.
“We expect our government, at least with these kinds of facilities in the rural areas, to allow some of the training programs hosted in Monrovia to come here, so we can have customers. When we have conferences and workshops here, we will be able to have our turnovers,” he emphasized.
In addition to the dire need for decentralization, the Hotel Alvino Manager says he would highly appreciate the government to grant local businesses much-needed tax break.
“If the government can give us tax break, it will be very good for us,” he stressed.
However, the Hotel Alvino CEO acknowledged with delight the indelible efforts of Madam Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, former Commissioner-General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), who he said, gave the hotel duty-free entry for some of its materials brought in from foreign countries.
Mr. Howard also acknowledged the effort of LRA current Commissioner General, Thomas Doe Nah, who he said has done a similar thing.
Nevertheless, the Hotel Alvino CEO, pointed out that the government must do more for Liberian entrepreneurs who are risking their limited resources to invest in rural areas because it will be beneficial to more Liberians in terms of much-needed jobs opportunity.”
It may be recalled that in September 2015, Hotel Alvino encountered its worse ever disaster when some disenchanted individuals vandalized and subsequently set ablaze its facilities when a motorcyclist was discovered dead not in the hotel facility, but elsewhere on the outskirts of Ganta.
The angry crowd, acting on what was later established as false claim destroyed the hotel facilities worth over US$2M. At the time, it was alleged that the Hotel Alvino CEO was connected to the murder of the motorcyclist.
However, Mr. Howard pointed out that the hotel has since recovered from its unfortunate ordeal and is gradually making headway in its hospitality operation and services.
“We lost over US$2 million in 2015 and we are still striving to reach the height we want to, and if the government can give us a tax break, it will be very good for us,” he emphasized.
Mr. Howard believes that “Those who burned down his hotel at the time did it out of ignorance. They acted on inciting words from people who do not want to see any young man like me progressing. We are not afraid. We know some of these people acted out of ignorance and business in itself is a risk, and the greater the risk, the highest the return of the business.”
With high level of confidence, Mr. Howard has significantly improved his hotel operation and services. The top-Liberian businessman has imported several up-to-date electronic beds on which guests can have maximum comfort.
The Alvino Hotel, so far, is the only hotel in Ganta which doors and other facilities are used with electronic keys and other security gadgets.
The hotel’s newly erected complex situated along the main road leading to Sanniquellie has comfortable suites for families and other tourists.
He lauded the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) for its assistance to the hotel in its operation.
“We must acknowledge the LBDI and its president John B.S. Davis, for coming to our rescue with the investment of some millions of United States dollars in this hotel. It really proved to me that it is a Liberian owned bank and it is here for Liberians,” CEO Howard told the IMAGES magazine in a recent interview in Ganta.
Although Ganta is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, Mr. Howard disclosed that the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in Liberia is causing adverse impacts on the operation of the hotel and other businesses in Ganta as tourists and other guests are not flowing in as it was prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in Liberia.
According to CEO Howard, the huge challenge of receiving customers from other parts of the country as a result of the current centralization of government operations in Monrovia, couples with the coronavirus outbreak in the country has caused the Alvino Hotel to reduce its number of employees, thus leaving some without jobs.

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