MONROVIA – The Plenary of the Liberian Senate, sitting as a Committee of a Whole, on last Thursday, October 27, 2022 held a public hearing with the head of Secretariat of the Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (LEITI), Mr. Jeffery Yates in the chambers of the upper house of the national legislature
According to a press statement issued from the senate and signed by Mr. Alfred Johnson, Director of Press and Public Affairs, Mr. Yates was last week cited to appear before the Committee of a Whole to provide requisite information on the status of its work including compliance issue of the various mining and logging companies as well as work plan.
Taking the witness stand, Mr. Yates told members of the Senate that he saw his appearance as an opportunity to interact with the Liberian Senate having operated as head of the entity for some time now.
The press release said the information of Mr. Yates to the Senate was centered around achievements, impacts on the economy, government’s support to the entity as well as challenges.
He told the Senate that the entity’s cardinal responsibility is to ensure global standards for transparency and accountability in the reporting of revenue from the country’s natural resources.
Mr. Yates also said that this will not only help to improve the investment climate of the country but also increase Government Revenue, and at the sometime ensure that the benefits due the communities on account of the extraction of their natural resources are duly paid to them.
He was however quick to note that the entity must ensure that she scores high in the next validation exercise that is due in 2024.
Commenting on the challenges of the entity, the LEITI Head of Secretariat pointed to the lack of adequate budgetary support to purchase essential materials for the effective running of the entity.
He named lack of computers, vehicles and other office equipment as some of the basic material lacking at the entity.
During interaction on the Senate floor, Senators pledged their commitment to assist the LEITI to achieve its objectives in ensuring transparency and accountability in the extractive sector.
The invitation to LEITI to appear before the Senate Plenary is in furtherance of the earlier commitment made by the President Pro-tempore Senator Albert T. Chie that the Liberian Senate will promote the work of LEITI and assist it by the provision of additional working resources through the National Budget.
Against this backdrop, Mr. Yates said, he and his team will closely collaborate with the Legislature, especially the Liberian Senate during the budget process for the support needed to help the entity realize its full potential.
Meanwhile, Mr. Yates disclosed that the entity has plans to forge partnership with the Liberian Senate for easy access to concession agreements, which he said have been very difficult to obtain over the years, thus making the timely review of concession documents difficult.