The recent global economic meltdown that single-handedly devalued Liberia’s two primary exports, iron ore and rubber, has led President Sirleaf to meet with the leading concessionaire in each of the two sectors, encouraging them to add value to raw materials extracted while in country.
In separate meetings with the managements of ArcelorMittal Liberia and Firestone Liberia in the wake of managements’ respective decisions to layoff many of their workforces, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the two management teams discussed means of mitigating the impact of the current global meltdown in the prices of both natural rubber and iron ore on the global market, a release issued by the Executive Mansion said.
The two delegations met with President Sirleaf at her Foreign Ministry office on Friday, February 5.
During the meeting, the two companies assured President Sirleaf of their commitment to maintain their operations in the country despite the global crisis. They then advanced a number of proposals aimed at enhancing their plans to remain operational.
President Sirleaf then reminded the two companies that government is also experiencing its own share of the impact of the global meltdown in the prices of iron ore and rubber. As a result, she emphasized, moving towards value addition is one sure way of enhancing the impact of those companies operations in the country.
She indicated that getting involved with value addition will help boost the economy and help create the needed jobs for Liberians.
They expressed the hope that the current global situation will improve and pointed out that they cannot abandon Liberia during such difficult time.
President Sirleaf thereafter thanked the two delegations for committing themselves to remain operational in Liberia despite the current global crisis and assured them of government’s commitment to working with them to achieve same.
She instructed relevant sector agencies and ministries to sit with the two companies to discuss the measures being proposed to find a way forward.
The ArcelorMittal Liberia delegation included the executive vice president and head of iron ore, Kleber Silva; general manager, Joseph Matthews; and Michel Prive while the Firestone-Liberia delegation comprised the president and managing director, Edmundo L. Garcia; director, administrative operations technology, manufacturing and procurement, Don Darden; and Attorney Gerald Padmore.