A day-long interactive dialogue on national resource governance sponsored by the National Democratic Institute has come to an end. Its goal was to inform residents of rural communities about the activities of concession firms around the nation. The goal of the day-long dialogue is to identify solutions to the problems that community residents face throughout Liberia. Local community leaders, including Nimba, Bong, Grand Cape, Montserrado county officials, and leaders of civic society organizations were present for the dialogue.
The absence of safe drinking water for the town’s people, according to Alieu Gataweh, spokesperson for the Grand Cape Mount county rural communities, necessitates that the Liberian government relocates Jankonor Town. Gataweh claims that since Bea Mountain contaminated the local river, locals have a very difficult time accessing sources of clean drinking water. He expressed disappointment that lawmakers would permit multi-million dollar concession corporations to flourish in the country’s rural areas without providing local residents with employment opportunities.
He pointed out that most rural regions have concession firms functioning to the detriment of the poor; our people have been barred from building farms around concession areas, which is terrible on those who live in rural communities. Concession corporations need to be held accountable by the Liberian government through the National Legislature for failing to uphold its social contract theory and engaging in unethical labor practices.
For his part, Mr. Clarence Massaquoi, chair of the Houses committee on concession and investment at the Legislature, acknowledged the difficulties faced by residents of rural communities while also pledging to work with his colleagues at the Legislature to ensure that business owners fulfill community residents’ needs. Representative Massaquoi pointed out that the Concession Law needs to be amended in various places to reflect contemporary circumstances. He also advises people who live in rural areas to alert the appropriate authorities about some of these issues before staging a demonstration against foreign concessionaires. At a local hotel in Monrovia on November 16, 2022, he made the official announcement.
Reported by: Joseph N. Kerkula
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