Commerce & Industry Minister Axel Addy has sternly cautioned beneficiaries of Chevron-Liberia’s US$180,000 grant to make better use of the money in order to impress the donors.
Minister Addy in remarks at the signing ceremony between Chevron and Liberia National Tailors, Textiles, Garments & Allied Workers Union (LNTTGAWU) on January 8, 2014, at the Liberian Business Association (LIBA) Incubation Center in Paynesville, said impressions Chevron and the Liberian Government will gain from the use of the grant would pave the way for others to receive the same aid to enhance their businesses.
He asserted that making use of the fund to yield the needed result is cardinal to opportunities for others too, noting, “The road you are using to travel should not be burnt to prevent others from traveling along it too.”
The US$180,000 grant is one of 56 projects Chevron Liberia has funded since it established its office in Liberia in 2011.
The grant is given under Chevron’s project named Chevron Liberia Economic Development (CLED).
The Minister noted that as the LNTTGAWU receives the money, MOC will ensure to send Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) agents to monitor them.
He however used the occasion to urge Liberians to prioritize products made by Liberians so they could help financially empower the producers to do more.
Minister Addy stressed that Chevron Liberia and other multilateral businesses are not the only ones to empower Liberians; Liberians themselves have to identify their value by giving preference to products bearing the country’s name and not always look out for what they must wear.
He told the union that MOC would declare a trade fair day for producers of country cloth to come and display their products. He declared that he has personally begun purchasing country clothes and share among his workers.
In addition to Minister Addy’s statement, Chevron Liberia Country Manager, Karl Cotrell, said he would be glad to see Liberians competing at an international level. He expressed the hope that the nation’s products would bear a “Made in Liberia” label as is the case with other countries like Japan and China amongst others.
Mr. Cotrell said empowering small Liberian businesses, promotion of health and sanitation, and education are key priorities that Chevron is focusing on in Liberia.
Seventy-five tailors from Grand Bassa and Montserrado Counties are to benefit from this grant through capacity building and training.
Senator Joyce Musu Freeman Sumo, of Nimba County and former trade unionist stressed that the grant is the first for the LNTTGAWU to have, and that she was glad Chevron came to their rescue.
She also cautioned the leadership of the union to show transparency in handling activities surrounding the money so that everyone would feel content.
LIBA President Dee Maxwell Kamiah, indicated that ordinary people are yet to feel the impact of the 60 billion the government boasts of being invested in Liberia.
Mr. Kamiah lauded Chevron for the grant and called on other international companies, including Arcelor Mittal and China Union, to emulate Chevron and empower tailors in Nimba and Bong Counties with other Liberian business entrepreneurs.
Dr. Togba Nah-Tipoteh, who also attended the signing ceremony, stressed the need for Liberians to give preference to products—especially clothes— made in Liberia.
The Liberian politician, economist, and connoisseur (expert in the area of the fine or domestic arts) of Liberian clothes, said it was sad that Liberians do not prioritize their own custom but deny it for customs of other countries.
He urged Liberians to show their national identity by wearing their own attire instead of always appearing western.
President of the Liberia National Tailor, Textile, Garment & Allied Workers Union (LNTTGAWU), Lasanna K. Dawon, lauded Chevron for the gesture and pledged the organization’s support to ensuring towards insuring the money be used to meet the expectation of the donor.