Pres. Weah Blasts Critics for Shunning Foreign Nationals; Dedicates Indian Steel Plant
Monrovia – President George Weah has criticized Liberian Economist Samuel P. Jackson for condemning his government in a communication, over the economic challenges being experienced by Liberians.
Pres. Weah speaking Tuesday, July 23, at the dedication of the Sethi Ferro Fabrik Steel Factory, said instead of just criticizing his administration, Jackson should equally put forth suggestions to address the problems.
In Jackson’s communication to the President, he wrote that government and Liberians are faced with immense economy challenges as a result of development models factored in by former President Edwin J. Roye.
This situation, according to Jackson, has caused Liberia to remain as one of the poorest countries in Africa.
“Mr. President, your country is crawling on its kneels and will do so for decades due to systemic problems such as huge infrastructure deficit, low educational attainment and limited productive capacity, resulting to dependent on two primary commodities,” Jackson’s Communication stated.
Responding further, Pres. Weah stated that instead of continually panning his administration, it is important that Jackson and others provide their expertise on better ways to improving the country’s economy.
He said the country’s economy was in shambled prior to his ascendency and improving it from such state will take gradual process.
According to the President, those criticizing must begin to invest in various sectors of the economy, naming the Sethi Brothers steel production factory as an example.
Further trying to justify his argument and raising the concerns over why foreign nationals are blamed for Liberia’s poor economy, the President said the first steel production factory in the country is an investment by Indians.
“We always hear citizens from this country saying, I am going to Ghana, Nigeria or other countries but we cannot hear people saying, I am going to Liberia for steel rod, but now we can tell Ghanaians that we are producing steel rod,” Weah averred.
The Liberian leader also frown at people blaming other nationals, including Fulani, Lebanese and Indians, for the country’s economy deficit, noting that these people (other nationals) have the financial capabilities, but are yet to get Liberian citizenship.
According to him, these foreign nationals will not be pleased to carry out huge investment in Liberia, when there is nothing to guarantee their status.
The President reemphasized his move to ensure that the dual citizenship bill is passed to enable these foreign nationals with huge investment strengths have a guarantee to invest in Liberia.
“In our country, when you propose this thing that will give our country a boost, everybody will complain. Why are we afraid that other nationals should build their capacity in our country, so we must think again that for Liberia to be better and our economy to grow, we must mix,” Weah stated.
“We need a made in Liberia and the Legislature needs to pass this bill.”
When this is done, he believes it will set the pace for job creation for several citizens.
He lauded Sethi Brothers for the investment it has made in Liberia, stating that they are boosts to Liberia’s economy.
Making remarks, the Indian Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Y. K. Sailas Thangal said the investment by Sethi Brothers is a guarantee for lasting journey deal of contributing to Liberia’s economy.
Such production, according to him, would greatly help to support the country’s construction needs and avoid importation of the same product.
“The production of your steel will make Liberia avoids importing from other countries.”
Ambassador Thangal warned Indian companies operating in Liberia to be mindful of their conducts in order to enjoy the opportunity of extending investment.
The Indian diplomat lauded the CEO of the Sethi Ferro Fabrik Steel Factory for understanding the need to work with the Liberian government.
Meanwhile, the Director of Sethi Brothers Incorporated Jay S. Khaniji maintained that the investment is geared at taking Sethi Brothers at a new level and clearly demonstrates their love for Liberia.
This investment, according to him, considers projects that will bring huge economy values and development to Liberia.
Khaniji, however, expressed interests in investing in the iron ore sector of Liberia for the production of other steel products.
“Your Excellency, tomorrow we want to begin to use Liberia’s iron ore to produce various steel products. Our goal is to leave a way for value addition and local manufacturing in Liberia,” he added.
“We believe by producing things locally, we can save our currency leaving the country. We can provide other jobs to young Liberians; we can export to other countries and begin to earn foreign currencies.”
According to him, no country can develop rapidly without engaging in value addition.
Khaniji further that Liberians trained in steel production have been fast in grabbing the required skills, and are therefore assets to the company.
He disclosed that at the moment the steels that would be produced will come from scrap materials.
Khaniji stated how unwise it would be for scraps to be exported from Liberia.
“We have come to consider this country as our home. My brothers and I were raised here and we have become a part of this country,” Khaniji assured.