MONROVIA – The National Civil Society Union of Liberia (NACSUL), headed by Amos B.S. Kanneh, has welcomed recent statement by the Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Prof. Albert Chie, urging the Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (LEITI) and other stakeholders of the mining sector to ensure that mining companies are in compliance with their various terms and agreements or licenses, in order for their host communities and their inhabitants to be lifted out of poverty.
In a release issued on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, President Kanneh said, “We commend Pro-Temp Chie for singling out the extractive industry, which has been engulfed with many allegations of not being in compliance with their agreements, as well as existing Liberian laws, and not living up to the expectation of the citizenry.”
According to the NACSUL boss, Prof. Chie was right when he said, “Presently, there is no order in the sector. Foreigners have invaded the sector, aided sometimes by some of the local authorities in the mining areas. Some private sector actors with means also participate in the sector without paying their correct dues to the government. There are also allegations of the participation of some government functionaries and operatives.”
Like Prof. Chie, the civil society actor emphasized that the extractive industry is in dire need of reform, especially the small- and medium-scale mining sectors, as it has the potential to be a source of revenue for the government in helping to improve the lives of the mining communities.
He said the sector, if carefully monitored, could augment the national budget and bring relief to the government in carrying out development in many parts of the country.
Kanneh extolled the Senate Pro-Tempore for mandating the Senate Committee on Lands, Mines, Energy and Environment, the Public Accounts Committee and the Committee on Internal Affairs to look vigorously at the small to medium scale mining sector and, at the same time, urging LEITI to ensure that mining companies in compliance with the laws and their terms of agreement.
According to him, it is important that those with oversight responsibility are beginning to call these institutions to attention for their lackadaisical behavior in paying back to the communities that they are extracting so many minerals from and enriching themselves.
“NACSUL sees Pro-Temp Chie’s statement as a wake-up call to mining and logging companies, for them to improve on their workings and relationships with the communities in which they operate,” Kanneh added.
Kanneh said the Pro-Temp was emphatically clear in his statement that the extractive industry can play a key role in the mobilization of domestic revenue for the National Budget. “The industry holds significant potential for revenue generation, naming mining, logging and commercial activities in palm farming, rubber, coffee, and fishery as areas that can help generate revenue for the country,” Kanneh quoted Prof. Chie as saying.
He also commended the Senator Chie for declaring that the Liberian Senate will support increment in the upcoming fiscal budget for education, health, security and election, as well as for revenue-generating agencies to boost their efforts for increased revenue.
The civil society activist praised the Pro-Temp for his farsightedness and intent to wheel his support toward national interest and people-centered issues. He said the increase of the budget for national security, health and education is in the right way to the flagship development agenda of the Weah administration: the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
Kanneh committed his institution’s support to the ideals of Senator Chie, and vowed to rally support to ensure that transparency and accountability takes precedence in the extractive industry.