The issue of dual citizenship in Liberia has been a crucial debate which has generated grave controversy in the public space since the incumbency of the George Manneh Weah-led government. President Weah, at his inauguration and even during his first State of the Nation address, suggested to the Liberian people through the National Legislature to make laws that would sanction dual citizenship in the country. Any such law, however, would be against provisions of 1986 Constitution, which gives right to people of Negro descent to own real property in the country. The debate was since swept under the carpet until July 23, 2019 when President Weah reiterated his call, urging Liberians to look in the direction of accepting dual citizenship so as improve and promote investment and economic growth in the country as well as create a larger platform employment; The ANALYST’s Executive Mansion Correspondent Anthony Q. Jiffan, Jr reports.
At the dedication ceremonies of Sethi Ferro Fabrik Steel factory and the Shangyou Wood Industries Development Liberia limited last Tuesday, President Dr. Weah called on the National Legislature to put aside political differences and pass the dual citizenship law, which he thinks will serve the best interest of every Liberian.
The President could not comprehend why Liberians are crying that the country’s economy continues to deplete, when they are refusing to accept dual citizenship that will allow Indians and other nationals to become citizens and invest in the country. “Our economy is depleting, because those who are high profile business people that make huge investment in our country are not citizens; as a result of that they will take the money and invest into countries in which they have their nationality” Pres. Weah said.
Dr. Weah said Liberians continue to resist dual citizenship and has failed to realize the economic benefits it brings to every nation. “We refuse to open up to other nationals to attain citizenship in our country; but I am saying that we have to think about that.”
The legendary soccer icon who is assumed to have obtained nationalities in additional to his native nationality stated that dual nationality has greater development prospects that is immeasurably to the present reality.
In a related development, Dr. Weah used the occasion to read a letter written to him by one of Liberia’s ace economists, Samuel Jackson, who laid out the major economic problems that are hindering the growth and development the country from the time of the presidency of Edward James Roye in 1870, William V.S. Tubman and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
In the letter, according to President Weah, Jackson informed President Weah that it was important for every Liberian to understand that the current state of affairs is not the making of the Weah-led government.
The President then expressed gratitude to Sethi Brothers, owner of the Sethi Ferro Fabrik Steel Factory, for the initiative which he termed as a great achievement for Liberia. “I am grateful to Sethi Brothers for this initiative, because during the days when we were kids, we only heard about Sethi and Jeety”.
Pres. George Weah asserted that in time passed and up to the dedication of the factory, Liberians has been importing steel row from other countries to build their structures, and noted that such wasteful spending as a result of the lack of Steele factory in the country has ended with steel users.
President Weah has then dedicated two Factories, the Sethi Ferro Fabrik Steel factory – Liberia’s first steel factory in Gardnerville; and a Chinese company, the Shangyou Wood Industries Development Liberia limited – Liberia’s first rubber wood processing in Todee, Montserrado County.
For his part, the Sethi Ferro Fabrik Director Jay S. Khanija thanked President Weah and the government of Liberia for creating the enabling business space that enabled them to reach a relatively high level of development in Liberia.
The the Sethi Ferro Fabrik Steele company is reported to currently have more than 300 Liberians in its employ and is expected to employ up to 500 Liberians.
The Sethi Ferro Fabrik, Inc., which will be using scraps for the production of steel rods, also appealed to the President to use his offices to help the company acquire iron ore in the near future to enhance their business.
The steele rod factory dedication program is one of the many activities characterizing celebration of the 172nd Independence Day.
Similarly, the Liberian Head of State also dedicated the Shangyou Wood Industries Development Liberia limited, Liberia’s first rubber wood processing factory in Todee, Montserrado County.
Speaking on behalf of the Government of Liberia, Foreign Minister Gberzohngar Milton Findley said in about 18 months of the administration of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), it has made significant progress in addressing some of the problems confronting the country.
Commending President Weah for his achievement, Foreign Minister Min. Findley said “This is the second major one you are dedicating today as president of this country, you working in line with your Pro Poor agenda for development and prosperity, thank you.”
The Foreign Minister also lauded the Chinese government and management of Shangyou Wood Industries Development Liberia limited for the establishment of the company in the country, and pledged the government’s commitment in supporting the company’s operations.
Also speaking, Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Fujijun said the completion and operations of Liberia’s first rubber wood processing factory is a boost to the Liberian economy as the country celebrates her 172nd Independence Anniversary.
The ambassador said it is a great opportunity for the company to be given a space in the Liberian economy to build such a multi-million dollars industry, and added that it is also an opportunity for employment in Liberia.