“We Do Not Want another Firestone” -Deputy Speaker Urges UL on New Program

MONROVIA – In order to make it rewarding to the goal for which it was established, Deputy Speaker J. Fonati Koffa has urged the authority at the University of Liberia especially those who will be in charge of running the newly launched Fisheries and Aquaculture Science program not to turn it to another “Firestone” in the rubber industry that has been operating in Liberia for over 100 years without producing car tires in Liberia but only exporting the raw material from the country”

The Deputy Speaker made the assertion on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 when he delivered the keynote address at the launching a new academic program at the University of Liberia, a Bachelor’s degree program in Fisheries and Aquaculture Science which is expected to commence during the first semester of 2022/23 academic year.

“Firestone has been here for over 100 years and we don’t have tires made in Liberia or rubber materials made in Liberia.

“This should not just be in the fishing industry. We must process, build the capacity of the people, because it is only through their livelihood that Liberia can have a better society”, he said.

He urged the international development partners not only to make the Liberia fisheries sector relevant to the Europeans but must also serve the interest of the local economy by building the capacity of the people and providing infrastructure that will add value to the sector.

At the historic and colorful program, several persons also spoke, lauding the collaboration between and among the University of Liberia, the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) and the World Bank for coming up with a brilliant project that will meaningfully impact the Liberian economy.

The European Union Ambassador to Liberia Laurent Delahouse, while excited about the program, said Liberia is blessed with lots of resources and that they should be protected and must benefit Liberians. He pledged the support of the EU in what capacity to make the program a grand success.

A representative of the Country Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also committed the cooperation and assistance of the institution towards the project while enumerating areas FAO has been of assistance to the agriculture sector in the country.

The program was attended by a sizeable number of guests including top government officials, captains of industries, academics, students, among others

In March 2022 the university administration in partnership with NAFAA signed a memorandum of understanding to commence a Bachelor of Science degree program in Fisheries management as well as Diploma and technical training program for certificate courses to afford Liberians an opportunity to harness the potential that the Liberian fisheries sector presents.

In a short remarks, Vice President Chief Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor who officially launched the Fisheries and Aquaculture Science College at the University of Liberia pledged that the program will be free of charge to the students. VP Taylor also encouraged female students to take advantage of the program.

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