Jeety Responds To Critics -As Govt. officials tour factory

MONROVIA: Indian businessman and philanthropist Mr. Upjit Singh Sachdeva (Mr. Jeety) has challenged those accusing him of boasting that the Liberian government is in his pocket to provide evidence.

Should that evidence ever be availed by his accusers, Mr. Jeety has vowed to waive all his assets worth over a hundred million dollars and leave Liberia.

He issued the challenge at his Jeety Rubber Company site in Cinta, Weala, Margibi County on Saturday, 6 April 2024 during the company’s official launch.

President Joseph Nyumah Boakai was represented at the program by Agriculture Minister Dr. Alexander Nuetah, who along with other ministers and top officials was received at the Jeety Rubber Company by local leaders and elders of Weala.

Mr. Jeety complained that despite his contribution to job creation in Liberia, people are trying to tarnish and demean his character.

While he admits that he is a foreigner, Mr. Jeety insists that he is a Liberian by heart and he wants to continue working to help the government in achieving its agenda to have “Made in Liberia” by producing finished rubber materials.

In his brief speech, Mr. Jeety explained the economic and social impact of the Jeety Rubber Company on the lives of the residents of Weala and Margibi County at large.

Through job provisions, the Jeety Rubber Company has given some economic relief to the locals, especially in Weala where provision shops were acutely scarce before the company’s establishment there less than two years ago.

Hundreds of young men and women from the county are working with the company, and there seems to be some expansion of small-scale businesses ongoing among the locals in the area.

But Mr. Jeety said his new rubber factory, well-equipped and fully staffed, is operating far below its capacity at about 55 to 60 percent due to the lack of enough rubber to buy from local farmers.

Liberia currently has a moratorium on the export of unprocessed rubber which companies like Mr. Jeety’s rubber factory are supposed to celebrate.

However some rubber sector stakeholders are opposed to the moratorium, and they want President Boakai to lift it.

However, Mr. Jeety, the Small-holder Farmers, and the Rubber Planters Association have shown their full support to maintaining the moratorium and have vowed to trade at fair market price with the farmers.

If he can get enough rubber in the next 18 months, Mr. Jeety said he wants to make another rubber plant for the production of goods and medical supplies here in Liberia.

The Minister of Agriculture Dr. Alexander Nuetah said President Boakai is looking into the moratorium seriously because it has revealed that the problem in the rubber industry is much deeper than one would think it is.

He said the farmers and processors all have concerns, and the actors that represent the farmers, like the Rubber Planters Association, and the Rubber Development Fund, all have issues that need to be addressed.

“Some of the concerns have to do with fair pricing. Farmers want to have fair prices for what they produce. And we are committed to ensuring that the prices that will be given or offered farmers to be fair enough,” said Dr. Nuetah.

He said the government is committed to whatever will be done to make the prices fair enough.

Additionally, he said the processers are concerned about access to the raw materials that must go into production before one can have finished products.

As a government, Dr. Nuetah said it has a responsibility to sit with all these partners to identify the issue and find out what can be done to ensure that the value addition craved for is realized.

Dr. Nuetah said he had not seen any serious attempt made to support value addition in the rubber industry.

When they travel to different places, he said they are confronted that Liberia is a rubber-producing country, but it does not have anything with made in Liberia inscriptions.

“We have thought about it, we considered it and so we thought to make it one of the pillars of our agricultural development agenda,” said Dr. Nuetah.

“We want to make sure that Liberians and private sector participants in this country have the necessary support, both policy and investment to be able to ensure value addition in the rubber sector,” he added.

Dr. Nuetah assured the residents of Weala, Small-holder Famers, and Rubber Planters Association that their messages would be delivered to President Boakai.

He said President Boakai meant it when he said the rubber sector has to be developed.

On behalf of the residents of Margibi County Electoral District #5, Madam Winifred Korpo told the government’s delegation that the locals were happy because the light had come to the area through Mr. Jeety.

“District #5, we were in darkness, the whole of Margibi, we were in darkness. Mr. Jeety’s coming in this District has become a great blessing for us, especially we the small rubber farmers,” she said.

She said they have been suffering in the area for years, selling their rubber to people who didn’t pay the cash until two to three months later.

But she said Mr. Jeety has rescued them in the district, noting that when people have jobs, business people can also benefit from them.

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