The President of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), a Liberian-owned bank, calls for a robust innovative rubber sector in Liberia.
Mr. John Davis seeks a master plan that will guide and improve the sector to conform to international best practices, including bringing value to the industry.
Addressing a one-day forum in Monrovia organized by the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment on the rubber sector, he says when value is added to the rubber sector, it would greatly help to stimulate the economy.
The LBDI boss notes that Liberia has stayed long in the exportation of raw rubber without getting any positive benefit from the product.
The purpose of the forum held over the weekend was to come up with innovative ways and suggestions government could rely on to work with the rubber sector in archiving some of the country’s economic goals.
He says though the sector has a number of expectations, there are few obligations that cannot be ignored, challenging participants not to relent in pointing out those obligations the sector has to help improve the industry.
The Liberian banker says to jump-start the recovery process of the rubber industry in Liberia, specific focus should be placed on post-multi-state factors in terms of accessing where the industry is, and to provide an opportunity as to where it is headed.
According to him, the sector is being driven by strategic goals and objective led by three dominant stakeholders that he failed to name.
“I will not call name but every single rubber farmer in this country knows that they don’t influence the price mechanism of rubber in anyway; they are straight true producers of raw output and as the result, it is difficult to plan their own economic situations in the midst of those factors that are beyond their control.”
He says there has been little or poor focus on value addition by private sector, NGOs and stakeholders.
He identifies limitation of rubber processing facilities as one of the challenges the sector is faced with, saying, “It needs to be fixed if the industry will grow.”
Mr. Davies who is also President of the Liberia Bankers Association, discloses that since the 1920s up to present, Liberia has been in the exportation of raw rubber without taking in consideration the impact the trade has internationally.
He says the methodology of moving the rubber sector to stage one is inefficient, noting that there is need to look at innovative and alternative ways and technology to show up existing facilities for the processing of rubber in Liberia.
In remarks, the President of the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia, Wilhelmina Siaway, says the focus of his leadership is to add value to rubber and establish training institution here.
She assures the bank that members of the association will do all they can to abide by policy of banking institutions in the payment of loans.
“We want to assure you Mr. President that our members are fully prepared to follow and obey all the rules and regulations of the banks that will give our members loan; we will pay back the loans; trust us,” Madam Siaway pledges.
The forum was graced by the Ministers of Agriculture, Finance and Development Planning and the head of the Cooperative Development Agency (CDA).
By Ethel A. Tweh-Editing by Jonathan Browne