The Liberian government has many Ministries and Agencies staffed with qualified politicians and technocrats. They should be, indeed are, able to fix any problem on the national scene.
But no matter their qualifications or technical capacity, ALL of these Ministries and Agencies must have one thing more: the political will on the part of government to fix national problems of whatever kind.
And what are these Ministries and Agencies that should be able to fix our national problems—problems such as those at the Cocopa Rubber Plantation Company?
We have the Finance Ministry, headed by a brilliant young man, Boima Kamara, who should be able to muster the creativity and ingenuity to offer solutions. There is the Agriculture Ministry, headed by another highly competent young technocrat, Dr. Moses Zinnah, whose Ph.D in Agriculture trained him not only in crop production, animal husbandry and Agricultural Research, but also in Farm Management and all kinds of problems and crises arising therefrom.
There is also the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, headed by another young man, Axel Addy who, thanks to his high-tech knowledge and experience, has the capacity to think through problems and offer solutions.
There are also the Ministries of Justice and of Labor, headed by Ministers versed in the law, with technocrats who together have the capacity to resolve labor and industry issues of many kinds.
There is yet the Forestry Development Authority, headed by a talented man who knows all about Cocopa, which he once managed. Harrison Karnwea is, you can tell by the name, a son of Nimba County, where Cocopa is situated. He should be, indeed is, very familiar with his people, who dominate the plantation workers. Karnwea, who speaks their languages, mainly Gio and Mano, should know what makes them tick, what makes them happy. Why can’t he come forward with some serious, well thought through solutions and offer them to his Ministerial and Agency colleagues and to the President? That should not be difficult.
Let us not forget, too, the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL): its new, highly experienced Executive Governor Milton Weeks, who is surrounded by a competent team of economic, financial and managerial experts. The CBL has already intervened two years ago, during the governorship of Dr. J. Mills Jones, with a US$5 million bailout to rubber farmers seriously affected by the drastic slump in the world rubber price.
None of these Ministries and Agencies, it seems to us, should be sitting there and playing dead and allow Cocopa to die.
This newspaper refuses to believe that all of these Ministries and Agencies with their economic, financial, managerial and technical expertise cannot offer creative, tangible and workable solutions to help fix Cocopa.
Some weeks ago we advised editorially that GOL should find a new buyer for Cocopa. We do not know whether or not anybody in government even read the Editorial; and if some did, have they taken note of the suggestion and taken any action along that line? Remember, that is what the media are for, to help government and its socioeconomic, managerial and technical operatives to think through problems and find solutions.
None of us should just sit there and play dead. God has given all of us not only life and good health, but also cerebral (brainy, analytical) capacity and hearts and sinews (strength, vigor) to engage and use in the face of any challenge, crisis or problem.
We hope that all of these Ministries and Agencies, imbued with patriotism and the determination to see Liberia move forward, will come together, discuss Cocopa’s problems and find solutions to save the company and the thousands of desperately needed jobs.
Who should take the lead? Finance Minister Boima Kamara and Agriculture Minister Zinnah should be the most likely ones to do so. Should they be able, along with all the other Ministries and Agencies, to come up with a solution to save Cocopa, it would be a significant boost to the weakened economy direly in need of every life supporting intervention.
But we would like to caution us all: Time is NOT on our side. Act NOW and come forward with a credible, tangible and workable solution to save Cocopa and save the country from further economic decline.