The Vice President, Joseph N. Boakai, has called on GVL to offer more opportunities to qualified Liberians instead of continually hiring expatriates. He said there are many qualified Liberians who are ready and willing to serve in managerial, supervisory and some technical positions.
Vice President Boakai was speaking yesterday in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, when he held a meeting with Mr. Franky Widjaja, Chairman of Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food.
Sinar Mas is the parent company and owner of Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), operating in Sinoe, Rivercess and Grand Kru Counties.
Vice President Boakai said the Ministry of Labor has been directed to be more scrupulous in approving work and residence permits for all expats as part of its responsibility to the Liberian people. Hon. Boakai also expressed concern at the quality of workers’ housing and challenged GVL to improve its social programs and community services.
The Vice President however, commended GVL for its investment to date in Liberia, and for creating more than 3,000 jobs around the Country. He said government believes GVL is still a good partnership that has a lot more to offer, but challenged the company to live up to the terms of the concession agreement.
Veep Boakai assured the GVL Chairman that the local communities and tribal groups were ready to work with GVL in identifying more farmland for growth, but that the company should also accelerate its out-grown program.
Sinar Mas Chairman Franky Widjaja, welcomed the comments of VP Boakai, which he described as frank and helpful. Mr. Widjaja lamented that a few elements were bent on stalling GVL’s expansion activities but that the company had already spent more than US$133 million on its investment in Liberia.
He called for the support of the Liberian government to educate citizens on the benefits of agriculture and to also build better road infrastructure.
The GVL chairman disclosed that they had already ordered a palm oil processing plant that when completed, would be one of the largest and the most advanced in Africa. He assured that GVL was a long-term partner and thanked Vice President Boakai for the visit.