The Nationalistic Talk: Protecting Our Local Manufacturers Will Help To Boost The National Economy

With Joel Cholo Brooks |

Kumba Bendu Toiletries Factory

Welcome once again as this writer highlight another topic on ‘The Nationalistic Column’,retrospecting the dynamic role the manufacturing sector over the years have played in the growth and development of the Liberian economy, and the exposure exhibited on the world market prior to the outbreak of Liberia’s senseless fourteen years civil war, join me as I pen down the importance role played by local manufacturers in the growth of our economy.

The Background

Prior to the outbreak of the Liberian civil war which lasted for nearly fifteen years, and left much of the country’s manufacturing companies in shambles, killing more than 270,000 people, displaced another 500,000, and also damaged extremely the country’s infrastructural growth including the lack of access to good healthcare, educational facilities in ruins, roads completely destroyed, and the indefinite closure of the nation’s foremost manufacturing companies has made the country to lost its renowned manufacturing companies.

Sethi Brothers Inc. Manufacturing Plant

Even though this devastation inflicted lots of scares on local and international businesses that were established with the nationalistic aimed of boosting the economy of this West African nation, Liberia through the growing level of manufacturing companies, there is still a need for the revitalization of these companies to once more show their faces on the map of Liberia’s manufacturing growth.

There destruction had devastating effects on the national economy and the country’s standard of living, the GDP at that time fell by 85 percent from 1980 to 2003, also at that time, in the 1970s up to the 1980s, Liberia was overwhelmed with dozens of these local manufacturing companies that progressively made strides in the manufacture sector of the country which helped to encourage huge employment of Liberians and foreign residents.

Liberia with a mixed economic system which includes a limited variety of private freedom, combined with weak centralized economic planning and government regulation, it will be a good start when the manufacturing sector regain its status in Liberia when more job opportunities will be created, and the growth of the economy will rapidly double.

One of the local paints manufacturers in Liberia

 The Importance Of The Manufacturing Sector

The rapid increase in the manufacturing sector in Liberia will help to bring in the much needed foreign exchange, and expand trade and commerce, prior to the Liberian civil war these manufacturing industries promoted the growth of the Liberian economy, and further helped in the eradication of unemployment and poverty reduction.

The availability of manufacturing companies also help to provide tangible facilitating goods that are needed to provide services; and services such as the production of locally made materials why at the same time creating jobs for the unemployed to be employed.

The manufacturing sector has been the path forerunner to development, it has been the strategic achievement of rich nations over the last several hundred years to create a high-quality manufacturing sector in order to develop national wealth and power, with services being dependent on manufactured goods, here in Liberia the importance of this sector is to create more opportunities for jobs and to train people who want to acquire advanced skills.

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It is also considered as the backbone of development in general, and economic development in particular mainly because; this industries is not only helping to modernizing agriculture, but rather also help to reduce the heavy dependence of people on agricultural income by providing them jobs in secondary and tertiary sectors. Industrial development is a precondition for eradication of unemployment and poverty from our country, export of manufactured goods expands trade and commerce, and brings in much needed foreign exchange.

Some of these manufacturing companies that made headway prior to the Liberian civil war and rapidly contributed to the growth of the economy in the import index of the country at a very comprehensible level which included the famous Battery Factory, the Biscuit Factory, the Maggi Cube Factory, which is popularly known here in Monrovia as Chicken Soup Factory, the famous Parker Paint Factory, and several others that are no more due this ugly Liberian civil war have left vacuums given reasons for Liberians and other foreign residents to visualize their bid in this sector.

Another factory producing gins and other liquor

As Liberians thread the bouncing back of more companies to invest in this sector to help reduce the huge unemployment that has engulfed the country’s labor sector, and also boost the Liberian ailing economy to an appreciative level where the country will brag of its human resources development, and the regaining of its locally produce capacity on the international market which will bring proud and dignity to Liberia and its citizens.

It will also help to add more to the growth of our national economy, and shorten the huge importation of foreign made goods into the country that are done rampantly by our local entrepreneurs who risk their lives to travel to China and other countries to buy goods to be sold locally.

The need for the opening of more manufacturing companies to add to the numbers that are already here must be consider highly by the central government by making available loans and other needy requirements including duty free privileges to enable those who have vast interest to bring into the country equipment to do so which will be in the best interest of the country.

It is indeed important to note also that this economy Liberians have been always opted for, be placed in their hands, which may probably give them the impetus to invest in the manufacturing sector in order to creating more job opportunities for their fellow compatriots, and also ease the importation of produce that could easily be made locally here.

Noticing The Role Of Local Manufacturers Played Over The Years

As a means of encouraging local manufacturers, the Liberian leader, President George Manneh Weah last year, 2019 officially inaugurated the state-of-the-art steel factory owned by an Indian national Paul Sethi in Liberia; according to report this company has employed dozens of Liberian. The Liberian leader during inauguration of the steel factory urged the business community to encourage ‘Made in Liberia’ by producing locally made products.

Factory of the Monrovia Breweries Incorporated which has been in Liberia since 1961, and is brewing and bottling beer over four decades the management has significantly invested heavily into this entity.

Another Liberian businessman Mr. Fomba Trawally, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Toiletries Incorporated whose investment initiative in the manufacturing sector has overwhelmed many Liberians for his level of support to the ‘Made in Liberia’ product; his locally made products have immensely reduced the importation of similar goods that are sold in Liberia.

Liberia’s foremost producer of quality mattresses

Still on the bloc is the Mano Manufacturing Company (MANCO), it is a Bleach & Chemicals Company which has been around since 1969 and began producing CLORA™ Super Bleach. This company was renamed in 1981 and began adding other products to its roster, Liberians are proud of its services over the years as one of the oldest manufactory companies in the country.

MANCO currently producing the green palm Isopropyl Alcohol 50% and the green palm Isopropyl Alcohol 70%, also produces CLORA™ Super Bleach, the Red Pack (Wrap) White Household Candles, white petroleum jelly, water guard, the star toilet and laundry soap, plus other products that are sold locally here in Liberia, and sometime exported to neighboring countries in the sub region.

Women working at a locally produced biscuit factory

The Liberian manufacturing sector must be given more attention by the Liberian government if the country’s manufacturing sector must succeed in its quest to producing quality product as a way of producing standard goods in order to meet the international market. Liberia as Africa’s oldest republic must be able to showcase its locally made products to the world as other countries in the region are currently doing.

Local financial institutions that are providing loans must also come to the rescue of those local entrepreneurs who are in dare need of financial credits to increase their companies production capacities in the sector, while at the same time, those who credit or took loans from banking institutions to enhance their production or finance their manufacturing companies should realize that they have an obligation with their respective creditors (Banks), that whatever amount of loan is taken must be paid back based on the agreement between both parties (Borrower and Creditor/Banks).

Borrowers of loans from banking institutions should also take into consideration that whenever monies/loans borrowed from any banking institutions must be paid in order to give others the opportunity in their bid to improve their respective businesses in whatever manner or way they want to invest said money.

Protecting our local manufacturing companies should be the utmost concern of the government, their contributions to the growth and development to the national economy must also be appreciated.

Check out next week for another interesting article on ‘The Nationalistic Column’

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About Cholo Brooks 12985 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.