Five Civil Society Organizations are requesting public participation before the passage of the draft Act to abolish annual land rental bid on forest concessions because it represents two separate titles in contravention of Articles 38 of the Liberian Constitution.
Addressing a press conference in Monrovia, the Institution for Research and Democratic Development, Save My Future Foundation, the Foundation for Community Initiatives, Sustainable Development Institution and the Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development said if the Act is passed in its present state, it will abolish the annual land rental bid premium; a significant portion of the Annual Land Rental Fees.
In a statement issued by the institutions, the Director of FCI, Julie Weah read that the bill was developed in secrecy and in total disregard for the transparency and public participation provisions in the constitution, and the forestry law and regulations.
“Instead of cancelling the contracts of logging companies that have violated the terms of the agreements, this proposed legislation will reward them through tax waivers amounting to millions of dollars,” the group observed.
The institutions pleaded that the bill is not passed b y the National Legislature without the meaningful public consultation as it will circumvent the principles and legal requirements for transparency and public participation in natural resource governance laid down in the Constitution and the Forest Law.
The group further called on the National Civil Society Council to take up the matter with the leadership of the Legislature as it is no secret that the ‘fundamentally’ bad bill has left the chambers of the Liberian Senate and is now lingering at the House of Representatives where lobbying is being carried out for its subsequent concurrence.