Citizens of Grand Bassa County have called on the National Legislature to pass laws that will compel the government to save all incomes generated from the oil and gas sector in Liberian Banks, should the country discover commercial oil.
They said such law, when passed will accelerate development in the country and strengthen the economy.
Making the disclosure last week in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County, a representative said the citizens also want elections to be conducted for the heads of the country’s emerging oil and gas industrial and should not be appointed as is being proposed by the Draft Petroleum Exploration and Production Act of 2013 and the Draft National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) Act of 2013.
The Government of Liberia has at least 10% participating rights and interests in all petroleum agreements, while 5% rights and interests go to citizens’ participation. The State and citizens’ participation interests shall be managed by the NOCAL.
Part eight (8), number five of the Draft Petroleum Exploration and Production Act of 2013 provides that “The citizens participation fund shall be managed by a trustee, which shall be a responsible international trust company selected by the Minister of Finance under a trust agreement conforming to the requirements of this section subject to the approval of the president.”
The citizens said they want this provision of the law be amended to reflect that the funds be kept in Liberia.
The citizens, among other things, want the Government of Liberia establish Oil College in the country to train Liberians in the Hydrocarbon Industry and provide international scholarship for youths to study aboard.
The citizens furthered that they want more benefits be given to counties that will discover oil off their shores and International Oil Companies (IOCs) be made to construct offices in the counties where they operate.
At the same time, the Citizens of Grand Bassa County have urged the government to stop companies from flying expatriates from Takrodi in Ghana to the rags off the shores of Liberia, but expatriates should rather be flown into the country and made to undergo immigration formalities before they are sent to the rags.
Grand Bassa Senator, Nyonblee K. Lawrence, in a brief remark thanked the Lower House for the consultation; describing it as commendable. She urged her fellow Bassa citizens that the time for politic is over and called on them to fully partake in the discussion and contribute wisely; adding that the outcome of the consultation will affect the country’s future generation.
For his part, the Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate and Grand Bassa County Senator, Gbehzongar Findley said the consultation will afford the Legislature to pass laws that will protect the interest of the Liberian people. He therefore thanked the House of Representatives for the consultation and called on Liberians to give them due credit.
Also speaking at the event, the Acting Vice President for Communication at NOCAL, Mr. Cyrus W. Badio, said the ongoing oil consultation across the country is the first of its kind in the history of Liberia and will go a long way in impacting the nation. He added that the engagement is intended to avoid conflict in the management of the country’s resources.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. J. Alex Tyler, said the consultation is proceeding well and many Liberians have understood the importance of making input in the reform process of the country’s hydrocarbon industry.
The Speaking noted that one of the major challenges that have the propensities to affect the sector is the management of expectation.
He wants Liberian manage their expectation as the government is doing everything possible in enacting the necessary laws that will protect the country’s resources.
He disclosed that the House has identified few disagreements in the Production Sharing Contracts between the government of Liberia and IOC and promised that those disagreements will be harmonized before the laws are passed.
He said he wants a revenue committee established to manage incomes from the oil and gas industry and not the Ministries of Petroleum and Finance as is being proposed by the draft legislation. He also wants state equity before cost oil as it is being proposed by the draft law.
Meanwhile, the nationwide consultation will take place today in Grand Gedeh County in the South-eastern Region of the country. The consultation will later be taken to Maryland, Sinoe, River-Gee and Grand Kru Counties.
The consultation will end in Monrovia, Montserrado County, with a national conference to solicit the views of Liberians as to what kind of reform they want in the hydrocarbon industry.
Source: Roland Perry/ Informer
Get the latest news and updates on Ghana’s oil and gas value chain by following us Reporting Oil and Gas on twitter @oilgasghana and like our facebook page and get at us on Google+. Subscribe to our group to get update