3 June 2019

Liberia: Govt Provides U.S.$1.725Million Loan to Boost Rubber Industry

The Government through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has made a stimulus package of US$1.725 million loan, equivalent to over three million, two hundred thousand Liberian dollars, to the membership of the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia (RPAL), which is currently being processed through the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI).

The president of the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia, Wilhelmina Mulbah-Siaway, thanked the government for the loan and suggested that they should work together in maintaining the rubber industry as Liberia's traditional cash crop commodity.

Mulbah-Siaway, who spoke to journalists at a press conference in Monrovia, described the loan as a "stimulus package for struggling rubber farmers and the resuscitation of their production."

According to her, the loan will enhance the industry's ability to intervene in the foreign exchange market, and to support stability of the exchange rate and boost the country's economy.

The loan, according to Mulbah-Siaway, will be managed by LBDI with an interest rate of eight percent due to be paid in four years.

She noted that with this recent intervention and sustained support to this sector, in a relatively short period the Liberia rubber sector will be revitalized and positioned to contribute again to meaningful jobs creation, foreign exchange earnings and GOL revenues.

"As the umbrella organization of all rubber farmers and plantations owners in Liberia RPAL wishes to recognize and appreciate the Government of Liberia (GOL) for its continuous support to the rubber sector of Liberia though stimulus funding during this period of sustained decline of rubber price on the global market with double negative impacts on the local market in the country," the RPAL president said.

She said the Government support is consistent with its policy developing the agriculture sector as a major engine of growth and development of the Liberian economy.

Madam Mulbah-Siaway said the rubber sector is the pre-eminent provider of revenues for the Government, export earnings and jobs in the rural economy, the Government continues to support the sector by creating an enabling policy environment and initiating stimulus funding to keep the Liberian-owned rubber farms and plantations operational in these difficult times and has also reaffirmed its commitment to transitioning the sector products from sales of raw materials to value addition.

She said, "We are gratified to hear President George Weah mentioned in his May 29th, 2019 address to the nation the importance of the rubber sector to the economy and the challenges farmers face to remain in production so as to continue to impact the national economy."

As the president has mentioned the importance of the rubber sector to the national economy, she hopes that the Government will continue to work with the RPAL and all stakeholders in moving the rubber sector to an economically sustainable level.

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