Liberia: A Land of Wealth without Manager

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By B.J. Goodlin

A story in the book of Genesis is unfolding right before our eyes. Adam was put in charge of a beautiful garden to manage and to have dominion over everything. Key word: to have dominion over everything. The instruction was quite simple – everything on the face of the land you have authority to dominate with the exception of man. His lack of management proficiency led to man’s quandary.

Liberia is a land filled with natural resources of wealth that hasn’t been managed shrewdly or should I put it to you that the lack of ideas or creativity to explore has been the challenge. Liberia is a nation rich with natural resources in Iron ore, gold, diamonds, and rubber, forest for logging and timber and vast agricultural land for ensuring food. With all of these resources, why is Liberia considered one of the poorest countries in the world that heavily relies on foreign assistance?

Studies have shown Liberia has five major iron deposits in these regions: Bomi Hills, Mano River, Mt. Nimba South, Tokadeh, and Bong Mines. How can a country be so rich and yet poor, how is that? The only answer that comes to mind is maladministration and the absence of vision and creativity. Liberia is not a poor country as we may think; it is the nonexistence of ideas and the visions to protect its resources and to produce goods and services.  Liberia has the natural resources to manufacture, distribute and reproduce finished goods – thereby creating jobs for hundreds of people. Jobs creation helps to alleviate the high crime rate and minimizes corruption. But again, everyone wants a government job; no one pushes the idea of building a manufacturing plant or encourages the idea of government farming on a larger scale in the area of agriculture. I have not seen any product manufactured in Liberia, or a single product with a tag, “made in Liberia.” Nevertheless, concessions come and take away the country’s natural resources without creating a manufacturing plant to train and develop Liberians to take over after they leave. No corporate responsibility to build roads or improve communities.

People cannot continue to live in the past by doing what has got the country where it is. After 170 years there has to be a change in philosophy of how things are done. You cannot tell me, with all the educated people, there isn’t one person who has the slightest thoughts to turn the page. The talk about creating a new city is a brilliant indication, although the task is enormous. But it is achievable if the process is planned with purpose. However, it all starts with self-governing — a mindset that every Liberian must welcome by taking responsibility for their actions; that the buck stops here, in order for the process to become a success. There is no time to monkey around. I remember like yesterday when neighboring countries wanted to be like Liberia where everyone came and lived and enjoyed the rich taste of the land. Today, Ghana has improved and life is great for their people, Nigeria stands on its own, soon Sierra Leone will pass us.

What’s next? Political rhetoric is everywhere destroying good ideas to create jobs and empower people. Stories are written in newspapers about Bong County being split into two counties, Upper Bong and Lower Bong. I do believe if the split is done in good faith it has the readiness to create colossal benefits for both citizens of Upper Bong and Lower Bong. Jobs creation is one great factor that could benefit the people, aside from building universities, colleges, vocational institutions, hospitals, clinics, industrial facilities and many other benefits. There is a saying, “one who refuses to change refuses to grow.” The creation of Lower Bong has the proclivity to minimize the heavy burdens imposed on Upper Bong where everyone wants to be for better education and the likelihood. I do believe such brilliant concepts are in the best interest of the citizens where they can leverage their resources.

I do not consider the President’s hint to build a new city as a bad one, as long as the funds are available with good terms. Liberians should hold together and embrace change. If other countries can do likewise, we have the resources but need the will-power and commitment to embrace change.  Change for Hope is the slogan for the new world, accept it or be left behind.

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