Local-based wood-workers in Ganta, the commercial hub of Nimba County, under the banner of the Gompa United Wood Association, (GUWA) has over the years empowered its members as well as individuals engaged in construction and other sylvan (wood-related) activity in the area, by proving them with quality processed and or finished wood products.
GUWA is an auxiliary of the Liberia Chain-saw and Timber Dealer Union, also based in Ganta, Nimba County, and a full member of the Liberia Business Association (LIBA).
Established since August 2007, GUWA now has a full membership of 15 persons. However, its activities are spread across the six original districts in the county.
Joe K. Touah, Sr., is the association’s deputy manager for Administration. He made the above disclosures recently in Ganta at the entity’s main offices to the Daily Observer.
GUWA, according to Mr. Touah, is located on two lots in the Deikermein Community. “It has economically empowered its members through a loan of US$35,000 received from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) through the bank’s loan scheme. The loan scheme is made possible through the leadership of the bank’s executive governor, Dr. Joseph Mills Jones. “That money,” Mr. Touah said, “has helped them purchased the first set of modern wood-processing devices/machines, and upgraded our workshop as well.”
According to him, the primary objective of GUWA is to among other things, empower its members, and improve the living standards of most of the rural dwellers that are in the business of reconstructing homes that suffered damage from the war.
“As such, we offer reasonable prices as low as L$100 for a piece of processed or finished 2×2 to our customers.
“For example,” Mr. Touah said, “a piece processed 2×2 is sold by GUWA for at least L$100, and upward to include prices of 2×4, 2×6, etc. This is because, at such prices, customers are being encouraged to purchase more pieces of woods for construction purposes.
According to him, apart from selling wood, GUWA intends to venture into bigger businesses such like furniture manufacturing and or building construction.
“To control our own economy, we, from the beginning of our establishment, taxed each of our official members to make a personal financial contribution towards the upkeep of the association.”GUWA administration is structured is such a way that sales is controlled by Mr. Anthony Sulu, while its finances are managed by Mr. William Teage.
Like any other organization, GUWA has its own challenges, some of which include the payment of tax to the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and to the Revenue Division at the Ministry of Finance.
With all the stumbling blocks including the payment of tax, and the rental fee for the land its operates on, the association has continued to strive and better serve the residents of Ganta in particular and the people of Nimba County in general.
In the face of such challenges, the association is appealing to relevant authorities to come to its aid through the reduction of taxes, and personal financial contributions or by becoming a full member to GUWA.