Executive Order 124 -Places Moratorium on Rubber Exportation

MONROVIA: The Government of Liberia has issued an Executive Order restricting the exportation of unprocessed natural rubber from Liberia until otherwise advised, authorizing the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture shall make special effort to provide access to domestic markets for Liberian rubber farmers in remote areas who rely primarily on cross-border trade in unprocessed natural rubber.

Signed on November 23, 2023 by President George Manneh Weah, The Executive Order 124 states that from the date of its promulgation, there shall be no exportation of unprocessed natural rubber from Liberia until otherwise advised, stating that unprocessed natural rubber shall be defined as the raw material tapped from rubber trees, not having gone through any processing to change its physical or chemical composition.

The Executive Order which further defined unprocessed rubber to be either natural latex, coagulum, cup lump, free lace, bark scrap, ground scrap or any other form of unprocessed or processed natural rubber (including concentrated latex and dry rubber produced or derived from the latex produced by rubber trees, states that  for the purpose of the instrument, “processed rubber” shall mean latex concentrate, technically specified rubber (“TSR”) and other dry rubber or grades of rubber that are generally considered to be processed rubber by  the natural rubber industry worldwide.

Accordingly, the Executive Order’s Section 2 authorized the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Finance, or any other government agency not to issue or authorize the issuance of any export permit for unprocessed natural rubber from Liberia, and that within 30 days of the issuance of this Executive Order, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture shall make special effort to provide access to domestic markets for Liberian rubber farmers in remote areas who rely primarily on cross-border trade in unprocessed natural rubber.

All custom officers and law enforcement authorities at points of entry and exit to and from the Republic of Liberia whether by land, sea, or air shall stop and prohibit the exportation of all consignments of unprocessed natural rubber from the Republic of Liberia, Executive Order 124 Section 4 instructs the security agencies of the country.

The Executive Order, in its Section 5 prohibits transporting or moving unprocessed natural rubber outside of rubber plantations between the hours of 8:00 pm and 6:00 am, and ordered that Individuals found transporting or moving unprocessed natural rubber during those hours shall be stopped by plant protection force or law enforcement authorities.

“Any persons found to be in violation of this Executive Order shall be prosecuted by the Ministry of Justice,” the Executive Order warned.

Responsibilities of Liability

Regarding responsibilities of major actors in the rubber buying process, the Executive Order indicates that processors may nominate a buying Agent(s) to act on behalf of and in the interest of Processor, but adds that in the instance where an agent buys stolen rubber and it is proven that a processor’s agent(s) was responsible, and that said rubber was in fact sold to said processor, the processor shall be responsible to refund the value and cost of recovery to the victim.

Alternately, when an agent is a person employed or engaged by a processor and who represents that processor(s) in dealings with a third person, the agent must apply for a license, subject to new requirements, through the Ministry of Agriculture.

“When an agent is found to be in violation of this Executive Order by a court of law, such agent shall be banned from acting as an agent to any processor in the country. The name of such agent shall be submitted to the Ministry of Justice and placed on a list of banned agents,” the Executive order 124 further warned.

Besides, the Order states that a processor (who may be a farmer) of unprocessed natural rubber and who may sell his or her rubber directly to the buying agent or processor shall not accept or sell any other farmer’s rubber.

“That within 30 days of the effective Date, the government must issue Guidelines which set forth legally acceptable procedures that all agents, processors, and farmers must follow for the purchase, sale, and trade of unprocessed natural rubber in Liberia. Any person found to be acting in violation of the Guidelines shall be subject to arrest and prosecution by the Ministry of Justice, in accordance with Law,” the Executive Order 124 directs.

It says any and every agent must buy rubber at buying stations or at farmer’s collection points. No agent shall buy any rubber along the highway, other pathways, or any other location other than at buying stations and farmer collection points.

“An Agent buying rubber must pay the prevailing fair market value at the time of purchase. If an Agent knowingly buys rubber that the Ministry of Justice determines to be stolen, the agent must pay the victim the value of the stolen rubber and the cost of recovery, particularly if the agent did not sell or report the rubber to his or her appointing authority (the processor); or follow written instruction(s) and guideline(s) from the processor consistent with the Executive Order,” the instrument stipulated in its 8th Section,.

As of the effective date of this Executive Order of broker activities relating to the purchase, it says sale, or trade of unprocessed rubber in the Republic of Liberia must cease and agents shall be the only persons to act on behalf of, or for a processor, or to act on intermediaries between farmers and processor in transacting the unprocessed natural rubber trade.

Of contracts between any broker and any former entered into prior to issuance of this Executive Order, such contract shall be submitted for review to a body constituted by the Government, which shall include Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Justice and other stakeholder representatives.

“Within one year of the Executive Order’s Effective Date, the review body shall conduct a review and determine whether contract terms and obligations are fair and equitable, if the review body determines that a contract is inequitable, the review body that cause such contract to be made null and void,” Section 10 of the Executive Order provided.

Accordingly, all rubber buying stations and names of persons responsible for the operation of such stations in Liberia shall be registered with the Ministry of Agriculture, and that any other unregistered and unauthorized buying station engaged in rubber trade shall be subject to seizure in accordance with law. Any person operating prohibited or unauthorized buying stations shall be subject to arrest and prosecution.

 Legal ramifications

The Executive Order provides that under no circumstances shall a processor build a place or buying station within a five (5) miles radius of a competitor’s plantation, and notes that violation of this zone shall subject the offending party to seizure of the buying station and its assets in accordance with law, including stockpiles of unprocessed rubber which shall be turned over to the competitor plantation by the Minister of Agriculture.

“The Minister of Agriculture is duly empowered to administer this Executive Order in collaboration with the Minister of Justice,” the Executive Order further provides.

It says while it is true that crimes committed under this Executive Order are bailable, the presiding magistrate or judge shall notwithstanding be required to take into account, in approving bail, the tonnage of rubber involved and the extent of damage done to the rubber trees).

“For each offense, the violator will be subject to a minimum fine of US$1.500 per ton of stolen rubber and US$1.500 per acre of rubber trees damaged, unless otherwise prescribed by the Liberian Penal Law.

That any person found to be in violation of this Executive Order shall be subject to arrest and prosecution by the Ministry of Justice, in accordance with law,” the President Promulgated in the Executive Order.   .

According to the instrument, “all rubber buying stations and names of persons responsible for the operation of such stations in Liberia shall be registered with the Ministry of Agriculture,” and that “Any other unregistered and unauthorized buying station engaged in rubber trade shall be subject to seizure in accordance with law. “

The law which prohibits that any person operating or any unauthorized buying stations shall be subject to arrest and prosecution, also indicates that under no circumstances shall a processor build a place or buying station within a five (5) miles radius of a competitor’s plantation.

Violation of this zone, the EO stipulates, shall subject the offending party to seizure of the buying station and its assets in accordance with law, including stockpiles of unprocessed rubber which shall be turned over to the competitor plantation by the Minister of Agriculture, adding that the Minister of Agriculture is duly empowered to administer this Executive Order in collaboration with the Minister of Justice.

The Executive Order furthered that while it is true that crimes committed under this Executive Order are bailable, the presiding magistrate or judge shall be required to take into account, in approving bail, the tonnage of rubber involved and the extent of damage done to the rubber trees).

“For each offense, the violator will be subject to a minimum fine of US$1.500 per ton of stolen rubber and US$1.500 per acre of rubber trees damaged, unless otherwise prescribed by the Liberian Penal Law,” the Executive Order says, concluding that any person found to be in violation of this Executive Order shall be subject to arrest and prosecution by the Ministry of Justice, in according with law.

2 Comments
  1. random email says

    I appreciate you sharing this blog post. Thanks Again. Cool.

  2. tlovertonet says

    Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to send you an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

Comments are closed.