House passes Bill To Compel Concession Companies

The House of Representatives has finally passed into law at Act to compel all companies to establish offices in the capital cities of the operating counties in Liberia awaiting the concurrence of the Liberian Senate.

The bill which was submitted into the chambers of the House of Representatives by the Rivercess County District # 2 lawmaker, Francis Paye on February 14, 2012 seeks to ensure that resources exploited from a county are directly benefitted from by residents of that county.

The bill also envisaged that economic empowerment of local citizens and residents and infrastructural developments are realized from the presence of investors in those counties as well as the decentralization of development of every sector especially the custodian of said natural resources.

Meanwhile, the intent of said bill is to demand that all logging companies operating in the country have their offices constructed and ready for use in the communities or counties of operation within at least four months.

Upon the passage of the bill by the National Legislature with approval from the President of the Republic of Liberia, any act of non-compliance or violation of any sort shall be punishable by fine of not less than US$15,000, as first offence and doubled for subsequent violations.

While persistent non-compliance to the context of the law, shall lead to an immediate revocation of all operation licenses of documents and a fine of not less than US$15,000 and not more than US$50, 000.

Meanwhile, in considering the bill for its passage, the Committees on Investment and Concessions, Judiciary, Labor and Public Works headed by Representatives Moses Kollie, Gayah Karmo, Christian Chea and Edward Forh respectively observed that it is a fact that some of the companies have mobile offices in the vehicles making it difficult for residents to get easy access to them in the exploited communities.

The committees’ members also informed the plenary that some companies’ management complained of additional cost accrued in renting and or constructing offices in their operating counties while the refusal of companies to invest in infrastructural developments when they have ten years to exploit makes them lackadaisical in implementing their social responsibility in the county.

Among other things the plenary of the House of Representatives agreed with its committees that creating offices in those counties of operation will not only boom the government’s decentralization program but would also create new jobs and boost economic empowerment.