An opinion by D. Zawu Kota, a British-trained premiere Supply Chain Giant, an arbitrarily dismissed Civil Servant currently rendering professional services for Bea Mountain Mining Company
The ordering of a Moratorium on the Exportation of Unprocessed Natural Rubber beneath the canopy of Executive Order #124 has me so flabbergasted and disgusted that I can rightly term it an impoverished/haphazard policy.
The administered EO #124 is like a Broken Wing Bird that can’t fly, a Broken Wing Bird frozen with snow.
Contracts should be respected by their terms and conditions. How can an Executive Order overturn an agreement, this is a bridge of contract and it is arbitrary. It brings to mind the character you have as a Legal Advisor, Archibald Barnard, a pompous and unable lawyer, who was accompanied by a dispensation – as a Counselor – at – Law.
This action is belated and ill-advised, and cannot fall on fertile soil. In my candid opinion, I see this as a reprisal geared toward retaliation against recent rigorous tides of US sanctions on officials of government.
Knowing that Harvey Firestone is an American Company, as well as the highest exporter of unfinished rubber products in Liberia, the government, or President Weah, feels very comfortable denying the nation needed revenue, knowing fully well that his tenure as president is ending in a few days.
Mr. Head of State, at what juncture did you realize the continuous depletion of Liberian rubber due to illicit tapping was harming the country? When did you comprehend the adverse effects of massive economic consequences on employment and government revenues?
Oh, since you just remembered, please, let this policy also encircle the mineral industry (ies) Gold, Diamond, and Iron ore. It must welcome cash crops such as; Coffee, Cocoa, and Oil Palm. The above-mentioned should all be ably/excellently/skillfully processed before exportation. Our Gold, and others, should be processed and adequately coded before competing in the international market. This would assist in strengthening our local economy.
In my opinion, this policy lacks intelligence and ordinary sense and has sorely been intended to propagate a witch-hunt. But who will suffer? The Liberian people.
Again, to disabuse our minds, let your EO expand, open, and unfold to the Mining and Agricultural sectors.
At times I get so pissed with the advisors that have ringed you in such a circle that your inexperienced mind finds it impossible to rise above; they have wronged you and wronged this country. You chose the wrong people to advise you. Still, I have tried to figure out their level of competence and visibility. Where can we place them on a scale of preference ( choices and priorities): diminishing returns (diminishing marginal productivity)? All economics…These kindergarten misconceptions, fallacies/falsehoods have gained prominence since the inception of your administration because you privilege loyalty over competence….
Coming back, where is the knowledge about the value chain of raw material being processed? From manufacturer to end-users/final consumers; goods are referred to as finished goods. How does that compare to Supply Chain perspectives, an area I have excellent command over?
Have you familiarized your vision with the complex tasks of designing and building a plant consisting of several phases – design, engineering, procurement, and construction?
Have you also mirrored the cost analysis of acquiring a plant preparedness?
Have you developed policy (ies) through the Environmental Protection Agency or the Ministry of Health to accommodate the CO2 emissions, reciprocals, and industry?
Have you forecast the number of professionals essential to be utilized in said industry with specialization?
Where are the finished products of Coffee, which comprise Coffee hulls, Coffee pulp, dehydrated Coffee parchment, Instant coffee by-products Coffee oil meal, a by-product of essential oil extraction, coffee leaves?
I could go further to talk about the processes in cocoa – from raw to finished product (like chocolate: powder, milk, ice cream, etc).
Should we go into the concluding outcome of gold – coins, bullion jewelry, aerospace, elections, etc.?
The (gold, diamond, iron ore, etc.) all leave Liberia unprocessed/unrefined. I will allow you to reweigh/adjust/modify your policy; please, do not be partial/selective with rubber alone.
The above-mentioned resources, including oil palm, are labor, energy, and material-intensive processes, where a significant amount of electricity and thermal energy, fresh water, firewood, and chemicals are used at different stages of the manufacturing process. (Electricity is key to the process). These are serious capital-intensive projects that would allow investors to brainstorm painstakingly with so many indicators to be looked at namely: a fast-growing economy/financial fundamentals, a country’s gross domestic product (GDP), inflation, consumer price index. Different analysts prefer different measures, the calmness of security, the rule of law, the stability of electricity, risk analysis, and so forth.
At the closure of a grossly inept administration, I would have expected you to have some retrospect on your lapses: the failed Bali Island project, the Battery Factory Road project to Crown Hill, Broad Street, the Overhead bridge from SKD Boulevard Junction to the Ministerial Complex, the 600 Nigerian Teachers, the Twin City of Monrovia, the harmonization and “reformed” policy of Civil Servants Salaries, the mysterious/secret transfer of Liberia’s Diplomatic/Service passports to criminals across the Globe…
Then there are the mischievous and cruel deaths of promising, enlightened, educated Liberians whose deaths are still unaccounted for.
President Weah, I thought you would’ve set your priorities, being cognizant of the rapid, growing waves of US Treasury Department sanctions on your appointees and those Legislative Members of your party stationed at the Capital. You aren’t frightened by the early symptoms, considering them as an illusion, a fantasy.
Ridiculously of all is the disappearance of 15.5 billion Liberian dollars (US $96m at the period under review) in banknotes, approximately five percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
An inquiry by Kroll revealed that the banknotes had not gone missing but had been illegally printed. The findings also disclosed that US $16.5 had been printed in excess and was unaccounted for.
This crisis yanked key bureaucrats of the Autonomous Agency (CBL) to incorporate the son of retired Head of State Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, (Charles Sirleaf) who was reprimanded and put to jail for likely economic sabotage, bribery, and criminal facilitation but was released and charges dropped.
You and your cartel didn’t cease the criminal malevolence, you “injected” US $25m into the economy to extract the excess Liberian dollars in circulation.
You made a nationwide address to register that the injection would curb inflation and the depreciation of the currency. Your address led to another scandal with a lot more discrepancies found with disbursements, using the government-agreed rate for some transactions.
Mr. President, you are a prime error tailored in an unconscious rationalization of Liberia’s democracy since 1822, long before 1847; a loaded liability that doesn’t cease from depleting Donor Funds entrusted to the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), a painful tragedy and a retrogression of our developmental trajectory.
However, I am so elated that the threshold/life span of an Executive Order does not outshine 12 months, we will eventually have it nipped, and you will be reasonably scrutinized. We will keep your feet to the status quo until January 21, the eve of your retirement.