‘Add Value to Liberia’s Natural Resources to Spur Economic Growth’

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— Says Liberian Economy Group, led by Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh

The Liberian Economy Group (LEG), has warned the government to stop reneging on its responsibility to promote the manufacturing industries in order to end spiraling recessions and spur real economic growth.

The LEG, headed by Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, said the country can experience economic growth if the government stop facilitating the importation of products that should be produced in-country, which hampers the local manufacturing industries.

The group, in a report, said the country’s economic problems can also be solved if the government adds value to the natural resources, as in the development of raw materials, mainly for local consumption, rather than doing so for the foreign export.

“Liberia must stop adding value in foreign economies, as seen in Liberian raw materials being exported to foreign countries where value is not added through manufacturing — a process which needs to be changed. Liberia can only experience economic growth if the government begins to add value to raw materials through manufacturing to provide for local consumption and have the rest to be exported,” the report said.

“The problem of falling global prices of Liberia’s exports and high global prices of Liberia’s imports would not arise if the government prioritizes manufacturing by pursuing policies that push for value addition on Liberia’s raw materials. To be credible, GoL must lead in purchases by purchasing only from Liberian-owned businesses what they can produce, and what they sell that cannot be produced in Liberia.”

The group’s recommendation comes at a time when the country is in the throes of rising inflation and a heavily devalued local currency against the U.S. dollar. More to this, there is a major slack in private investment and foreign investors have shied away from Liberia due to the high frequency of political protests in the country.

Currently, the World Bank Group 2019 outlook report on the Liberian economy revealed that Liberia’s economy is projected to contract by 1.4 percent, following the modest growth of 1.2 percent in 2018. The report also stated that inflation reached 31.3 percent by August 2019, up from 26.1 percent the previous year.

The LEG further called on the government to learn from China to promote the value addition of resources, which has enabled the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to reduce poverty rate from 80 percent to  3 percent and having a near 7 percent percent economic growth rate.

LEG added that, for Liberia to get the foreign exchange rate to go down, state managers will have to prefer the Liberian dollar to the United States dollar for daily business transactions.

“Such preference could take place when raw materials in Liberia are produced mainly for local production and consumption, through manufacturing. Liberians have to produce what they can produce and stop importing products that they can produce. Liberians have to buy from Liberian owned businesses, paying in Liberian dollars. The Government has to pay salaries in Liberian dollars and collect taxes in Liberian dollars.

“When Liberia adds value to the production of Liberia’s raw materials, through manufacturing, and export the manufactured products, after attending to local consumption, then we get needed foreign exchange to import products that we cannot produce,” the report said.

The report added, “When Liberia imports only those products that we cannot produce at his time, while concentrating on local production and consumption of products from Liberian businesses, the Liberian dollar gets stronger, local prices become bearable and mass poverty elimination moves towards reality.”

Meanwhile, the LEG has called on the government to increase the value of human resources, through education, which they say will make the country better for all Liberians.

Dr. Tipoteh group furthered said such education must necessarily be based on the use of Liberian culture as the basis for educational development, because the longstanding domination of western culture, especially American culture, in Liberia’s educational system makes it impossible for Liberians to understand Liberia’s problems and take action steps to solve these problems.

Other members of the LEG include David Vinton, former Executive Governor, National Bank of Liberia (now Central Bank of Liberia); Estelle Liberty, former Senior Staffer, then Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs and Deputy Minister, ministries of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Postal and Internal Affairs; Amin Modad, former Senior Staffer, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the government Representative to the World Trade Organization; and Geepu Nah Tiepoh, PhD, Chairman, Department of Economics, Vanier College, Canada and consultant, Ad-Hoc Price Commission of Liberia.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I have said this over, over , over and over again?
    Also check my platform during the 2017 election; it is also stated there (; steel factory, rubber factory, hydro dam because energy is needed to carry such project forward, etc).
    The products will then be sold to capitalist; capitalist, capitalist right (; best via Joint Ventures)?
    Value can only be added by people with the needed technical Know-Hows, Skillsets. Industrial economists, Engineers, etc with atleast 15+years must be able to drive such projects.
    There are massive competitions in the world. You can only be part of such competitions if your population is educated in the high tech.
    How many Engineers do we have in Liberia? How many MDs do we have in Liberia? How many Chemists do we have in Liberia? How many industrial economist do we have in Liberia? … etc.
    Liberian are constantlyopting for less education; look at the courses Liberian have degrees in? Degrees that takes nobody anywhere as in this case?
    I feel very sorry for Liberia because of the ways we think.
    God forgive our sins.

  2. The LEG has made a very good economic point. Local production of consumable items for internal and international purposes will help the people of Liberia.

    Keys are needed to help spur economic growth:

    In my view, one of the keys that should be considered for purposes of turning the Liberian economy around is the improvement and construction of roads. If there are good roads, some Liberians will make bigger farms in order to sell their products wholesale. If bigger farms are made, lots of food will be brought to the markets. For instance, yucca, the Spanish name for cassava, is heavily consumed in Liberia. And yes, cassava has many uses. But at times, there’s a shortage of cassava at the markets.

    Why do we have a shortage of such a valuable consumable item at our markets sometimes?
    Answer: No good roads!!! The issue of no roads has been going on since 1847 when those people declared independence.

    Another important key item that’s badly needed in Liberia is the unregulated market of transportation. For some strange reason, their is a “funny” transportation system in the nation’s capital. Buses that transport people are usually jammed with four passengers sitting in a seat of three. That’s horrendous. Without a good transportation system, how can a poor farmer carry four bags of corn from Pleebo, Maryland county to Monrovia?

    Totally befuddled! The Ivorians have a good transportation system. A 30-seater can travel from Danane (my spelling could be wrong) to Abidjan, the capital. Most roads are paved in the Ivory coast. The Ivorians did their homework on the significance of roads many years ago. Because of that, their economy is in a better shape than ours.

    Question:
    When are we going to wake up to the smell of progress in Liberia?

  3. Liberia can only achieve economy growth when she prioritizes agriculture for self sustainable and reduces importation of raw materials . Reengineering agricultural sector, giving the farmers prioritize by providing funds for the necessity of growth in our economy, and reform the agriculture sector by establishing a board to do a strategic planning of all the counties agricultural decentralization with a set plan of product that the can produce. Set up strong internal control systems that monitor the monetary policy to track corrupt government officials and bring them to justice and also reengineering the justice department, there is manipulation in that branch of government and there is a need of total reform of justice system.

  4. Douglas:
    Thanks to the thoughts of our brothers and sisters for bringing up such topic for discussion. True, Agriculture and Manufacturing and sustainable roads projects will help the growing problems in our country.
    We do need to revitalize our educational systems to take up this task.we need to set new curriculums in our schools to help our students to be more interested in choosing this path.
    Liberia have a hugh amount of Manufacturing and industrial engineers outside of the country, we should make this a national issue to come back home and contribute to this cause.
    Love Liberia and love us all.

  5. With all due respect, when did the learned economists got to know all these? This suggestion would have done a magic in the 12 years of the donors’ beloved, African First female and Harvard trained leader. However, better late then ever!

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