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MoA not authorized to lift unprocessed rubber ban 

--Says Minister J. Alexander Nuetah

Through executive orders, the Liberian Government banned the export of unprocessed rubber in two separate administrations, from Sirleaf to Weah.

Monrovia, May 3, 2024: Liberia’s Agriculture Minister, Dr. J. Alexander Nuetah, says his Ministry has no authority to lift the moratorium imposed on the exportation of unprocessed rubber products from the country.

In a statement dated 1 May 2024, Minister Nuetah explained that the Moratorium is an Executive Order imposed separately during the Presidency of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Mr. George Manneh Manneh Weah.

Dr. Nuetah informed the public that the Ministry of Agriculture supports Liberian small and medium-holder farmers and large concessions in the rubber sector. 

While the Ministry supports the value addition of the country’s natural resources, Dr. Nuetah clarified that it has no authority to lift the moratorium imposed on the exportation of unprocessed rubber products from the Republic of Liberia.

“Therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture has no power and authority to lift a presidential moratorium, as is wrongly speculated,” he clarified.

He recalled that on 10 November 2008, former President Sirleaf issued Executive Order No. 16 stating that the rubber industry was part of the nation’s economy and offered the maximum source of annual revenue for the government while providing abundant job opportunities for Liberians.

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Quoting Section 1 of the Order, Dr. Nuetah said it stated that “From the date of this Order, there shall be no exportation of unprocessed natural rubber from Liberia until otherwise advised.”

The Sirleaf-era Executive Order defined unprocessed natural rubber as the raw material tapped from rubber trees, not having gone through any processing to change its physical or chemical composition.

The definition also covered natural latex, coagulum, cup lump, tree lace, bark scrap, ground scrap, and any other form of unprocessed or processed natural rubber (including concentrated latex and dry rubber produced or derived from the latex produced by rubber trees.

He detailed that for purposes of the Executive Order, “processed rubber” shall mean latex concentrate, technically specified rubber (“TSR”), and other dry rubber or grades of rubber that are considered to be processed rubber by the natural rubber industry worldwide.

Minister Nuetah added that on 28 April 2014, former President Sirleaf again issued Executive Order No. 60 to replace Executive Orders No. 16 and 50, which banned the exportation of unprocessed natural rubber from the country.

Further, Minister Nuetah recalled that in December 2023, former President George Manneh Weah issued Executive Order No. 124, which bans the exportation of unprocessed natural rubber.

He indicated that the Weah-era Executive Order replaced Executive Orders No. 16, 50, and 60 issued by former President Sirleaf.

Executive Order No. 124 bans the exportation of unprocessed natural rubber. It states, “From the date of this Executive Order, there shall be no exportation of unprocessed natural rubber from Liberia until otherwise advised.” 

It defined unprocessed natural rubber as the raw material tapped from rubber trees, not having gone through any processing to change its physical or chemical composition or natural latex, coagulum, cup lump, tree lace, bark scrap, ground scrap, and any other form of unprocessed or processed natural rubber (including concentrated latex and dry rubber produced or derived from the latex produced by rubber trees).”

Given these historical accounts within the rubber sector, Minister Nuetah said the Ministry of Agriculture wishes to dispel all rumors, misinformation, and falsehoods surrounding the Moratorium. 

“Minister J. Alexander Nuetah and the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture therefore call on all stakeholders in the rubber sector to seek and pursue dialogue in finding lasting solutions,” the statement said.

Dr. Nuetah stated that he supports all efforts to amicably and peacefully address the issue once it benefits Liberia and Liberian smallholder farmers and concessions in the rubber sector.

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