NTLA Urged to Ratify Firestone Agreement

Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted February 22, 2005

The need for the immediate rehabilitation of the Liberian Rubber Industry has been underscored by some rubber experts in the country.

Experts of rubber industry in the country stressed the need last Friday at a special session of the National Transitional Legislative Assembly during the public hearings on a concession agreement document submitted to the NTLA by the Executive Branch of Government.

The concession agreement which is between the Liberian Government and the Firestone Management, the experts said, needs ratification in order to signal to the world that indeed peace has finally returned to the country following years of instability.

The ratification, they noted, would provide an excellent opportunity to would-be investors who over the period of 14- year crisis, have adopted a “wait-and-see” attitude to come and invest in the country.
A cross-section of government representatives from the National Investment Commission, the Ministry of Justice, Labour, the Rubber Planters Association, among others, also took part in the public hearings at the NTLA.

NIC Chairman Roosevelt Quah said the exercise would save the Liberian Rubber Industry from total decline, stressing that dialogues with the Firestone Management if need arises for additional agreement could not be ruled out.

Meanwhile, authority at the Ministry of Justice said the ratification of concession agreement by the NTGL does not violate the CPA as such, the NTLA should ratify it in the interest of the Liberian Rubber Industry.
For his part, the head of the Firestone Management Team, Mr. Charles Stuart, assured the company’s commitment to improving the status of the plantation as well as the social standards of its workers.
According to him, the ratification will afford the Liberian Rubber Industry with a renewed vigor thereby rescuing the industry from total decline.

He disclosed that up to present Liberia is producing less than 1% of the world rubber, something he attributed to the prolonged civil war.

Mr. Stuart also disclosed that Firestone has already begun the replanting exercise in several of its camps, noting that similar exercise will be extended to local farmers aimed at rescuing the dying Liberian Rubber Industry.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by the Forum newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.