House Frowns on ‘Exploitation’ in Rubber Sector

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In the wake of alleged mismanagement of the rubber sector by Firestone and the Rubber Planters Association, members of the House of Representatives have expressed disappointment and called for the re-establishment of the Liberia Rubber Development Authority (LRDA).

The LRDA, the House says, would be responsible for regulating the rubber sector and streamlining the operations of all stakeholders as well as researching the price of rubber and making monthly reports.

The House Plenary has mandated its Leadership to engage President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to convince the Legislature about the legality of the Executive order recently issued on the rubber sector given that it was issued while the Legislature was in session.
The House’s decision was predicated upon a seven-person Special Committee Report, submitted on yesterday during the 15th day sitting of the extraordinary session.  The committee was headed by Nimba County lawmaker, Rep. Larry P. Younquoi.

“While, the Committee does not substantially differ with provisions of said Executive order, it is believed that having it passed while the Legislature was sitting renders it illegal and if allowed to remain enforced, has a tendency to create a constitutional crisis,” Rep. Younquoi said.

The House also frowned on the US$2.00 deduction by the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia (RPAL) from each sale made by farmers, and the 4% tax deduction by Firestone from each ton sold.

It may be recalled that Bong County Representative Adam Bill Konneh, on behalf of the National Rubber Broker Farmer Union of Liberia (NARBFUL), filed a complaint against the management of Firestone-Liberia and the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia (RPAL).  NARBFUL accused Firestone and the RPAL of malpractices that have the propensity to undermine the economy and endanger public safety.

The Daily Observer contacted the president of the Rubber Planters Association, Mr. Benjamin Greene Garnette, for his reaction.  However, Mr. Garnette said the RPAL will react in a formal and comprehensive statement at the weekend for publication in Monday’s papers.

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