1 July 2014

Liberia: Central Bank Pumps Big to Resurrect Rubber Industry

The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has directed huge amount towards the resuscitation of the rubber industry. The amount, which is in the tone of US$ US$5m and L$129,750,000 was pumped into the industry on Friday, June 27, 2014.

The CBL's action comes on the heels of a drastic reduction in the production of rubber in the country.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony held in the conference room of the CBL, the Executive Governor of the Bank, Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, said the initiative was the government's way of reaffirming its commitment to the revitalization of the rubber sector.

According to him, the loan is a "stimulus package" for struggling rubber farmers.

He noted that the loan is meant to resuscitate their production.

Dr. Jones stated that the industry was affected due to the drop in prices of rubber on the world market, which he noted, required government's intervention.

"The drastic reduction is very much serious and it needs urgent intervention to make the sector operational," said the CBL boss.

He said the loan will enhance the industry's ability to make impact in the foreign exchange market by supporting the stability of the exchange rate and boost the nation's economy.

The CBL boss furthered that the revitalization of the industry was important considering the fact that it is one of the largest employment sectors in the country.

He said the rubber sector is a major economic activity that should not be left alone without government's intervention in its difficult period of the rubber industry.

"We need to support the sector because it provides employment opportunity to a larger population in the country. If you don't support the sector, a large number of our citizens will be out of job," Dr. Jones maintained.

The loan, according to him, will be managed by the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI).

For his part, Mr. Ben Garnnet, President of the Rubber Planter Association of Liberia (RPAL), lauded thanked the government for the loan, and stressed the need for a strong working relationship for the maintenance of the rubber industry as Liberia.

The RPAL head urged government to stand by the farmers in stabilizing the situation.

He pointed out that the current situation facing rubber farmers has led to their inability to service their payroll that cost him at least US$1,000,000 monthly.

He noted that the loan will help to improve the production of rubber, noting that the drastic reduction adversely affects its membership as well as other local planters in the country.

He said rubber farmers, like people in other sectors, were finding it difficult to acquire loans, which have made the situation complex.

However, Mr. Garnet noted that the intervention by the Government of Liberia (GoL) through the CBL, would help to curtail most of the difficulties face by them.

The rubber farmer's President stated that the drop in production in 2013 has cost them US$1M, and that if measures are not put into place, they are expected to record more loses.

He expressed vowed to work with other competitors and government in whatever way forward in solving the problems identified.

For his part, the President of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), who is also the President of Liberian Banker Association (LBA) Mr. John B. Davis, challenged the association to make sure that the loan is paid back and on time.

He said loan was significant significant to revamping the economy of the country.

According to him, over 37 institutions have applied for the loan, noting that "They would have to meet all of the requirements stipulated in acquiring the loan."

In a related development, the CBL Executive Governor, Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, has urged Liberians to change from old order by working hard and thinking big for the growth of the country.

"Liberians should roll up their sleeves and work hard by getting to the farms, building factories that will produce and engaging into small businesses. This will help significantly in changing Liberians standard of living," he pointed out.

The CBL executive governor made the statement in Gbarpolu County when he dedicated a newly constructed Financial Institution Bank in that county.

He added that it is time for us to think big so that we can lift ourselves from poverty.

"It is not a fact that Liberian men and women should be poor, and no gospel says that. Other countries have worked hard to improve their standard of life. Liberia can do the same," he added.

Commenting further, Dr. Jones stated that through the Village Saving and Loan Association, the women of Liberia can improve their living environment for their family.

"If Liberians must get a helping hand, then they should be prepared to turn their productive hands into doing something better for themselves. "There are people who are doubting Thomas, there will always be somebody out there to doubt, but there is a popular song and hymn that says God moves in a mysterious way," Dr. Jones said.

Governor Jones emphasizes that Liberians must work together and stand firm in putting Liberia first above personal interest if the country is to grow.

"We must think and decide where we want to go as Liberians and must be strong in order to get there for good of Liberia." Liberians are in a boat that is not going anywhere. Unless we all leave the boat and begin to think big, we will not go anywhere.

Speaking at the occasion, the President of the Village Saving and Loan Association of Margibi County, Madam Victoria Nagbe, commended the CBL and Governor Jones for establishing the micro-loan program across Liberia.

Madam Nagbe praised President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's administration for a well done job in making sure that the CBL loan outreach program empowers Liberians especially women.

She said as women, they will make sure that the association remains strong so that the women of Margibi County can be independent.

She encouraged other women to stay firm and work together in order to transform Liberia by kicking poverty not only from Margibi County but Liberia.

At same time the CBL governor last Friday broke ground for a the construction of a palaver hut in Tenii Town, Tewor District, Grand Cape Mount County.

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony Dr. Jones informed the people that the CBL was deeply concerned to seeing Liberians take over their own economy.

"We are trying to give you the chance to work for themselves. We give you the loans and you must pay back. We must break the idea that Liberians do not pay debts. We must show people that is wrong." he pointed out.

He said Liberians must be major players in the economy adding that Liberians must be in the full front it.

For her part, Tenii District Commission, Madam Haja Fahnbulleh, lauded Dr. Jones for coming in to listen to the plight of the people.

She indicated that the people of Cape Mount are glad to be a part of the CBL family and with the presence of CBL Governor Jones poverty will be eliminated from Cape Mount County.


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