President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has stressed that the rehabilitation of the port of Greenville is an urgent need of government, as this would spark a prompt response to the potential economic boom in southeastern Liberia and add impetus to government’s “Agenda for Transformation.”
Unless the rehabilitation of the facilities can be made a priority and executed, President Sirleaf said, all the economic growth expected to take place in the region will be an illusion as the port serves as a major gateway to this part of Liberia.
“The port of Greenville is captured in the government’s Agenda for Transformation (AfT) under the ports component of the policy document, but resuscitating it to its prewar status has been slow, leaving the facilities nearly inaccessible to vessels due to abandoned marine carriers in the dock area,” the Liberian leader indicated.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the comments while inspecting the port of Greenville, in Sinoe County, on Thursday, April 25, during the latest stage of her nationwide tour.
The Liberian leader said she was exceptionally satisfied by the enthusiasm investment companies have shown, and the citizens for their peaceful engagements with these companies. She promised that government will play its role in both companies’ operation and citizens’ rights for the common good of the country and its investment climate.
“We will head nowhere economically,” the President noted, “if the port of Greenville is not rehabilitated to allow these investment companies to ship their products from Liberia, and this will take the partnership of citizens, companies and government.”
The port of Greenville will be the export point for Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), a multi-million-dollar oil palm investment company operating in the county; and also for the Putu Mining Company, the iron ore mining company that is exploring iron ore in the Putu Mountains in Grand Gedeh County.
President Sirleaf reminded the National Port Authority (NPA) of its commitment to fully rehabilitate the port by the end of this year. Her reminder was in response to a commitment made by the NPA’s Director of Ports and Harbors, Mr. Barnabas Kasor, that the facilities would be fully rehabilitated by the end of 2013.
Before touring the port, the President had inspected the 3rd Judicial Circuit Court in Greenville, which she described as a boost to her administration’s judicial reforms characterized by equal access to justice irrespective of status.
The President’s visit to Sinoe also afforded her the opportunity to visit the GVL oil palm development sites in Numopoh-Kpanyan and Butaw. She symbolically planted young seedlings as a demonstration of her government’s strong policy on agriculture. Over the last two years, GVL has created over 2,700 new jobs. President Sirleaf met separately with GVL’s management and employees. She later viewed locally built infrastructure of employee housing, health facilities and school.
Speaking after the visit, GVL’s co-founder and Director, Matt Karinen, praised the government’s commitment to see a successful development take place in Liberia. “The benefits of modern oil palm industry emerging in these communities would not be possible without the Liberian government’s commitment to attracting foreign investment and proven expertise. We are working to rebuild the economy and realize the country’s untapped potential. Development does not come without challenges, and we are here to work with the communities to surmount them,” he said.
President Sirleaf also held a town hall meeting with aggrieved citizens of Butaw over land issues which has slowed down the GVL’s operation in the county.