Recently, a Bill primarily seeking to enhance socio-economic growth and development of various communities in Liberia was introduced at the House of legislative instrument that has already begun been applauded in both the public and private sectors.
Well-placed sources, confiding in this columnist and as visibly witnessed from the day of the introduction of the Bill at plenary, with the proposed legislation sent to committee room for proper synchronization to spark deliberations, indicate that the coming week is expected to witness it on the agenda of the plenary of the House with most members having already approvingly given initial support.
For the ordinary, it is only proper as means of delving into the nitty-gritty of the Bill by explaining that over the decades, some companies that had expressed interest in investing in Liberia had been carried by the age-old practice of establishing head offices in the capital, Monrovia, with exploitation of the nation’s resources in various political sub-divisions without permanent offices, making it to appear that the plunder was meant to simply export what they were interested in, leaving those areas under-developed following the accomplishment of their institutional objectives.
Though with several companies having since laid the basis upon which investments in Liberia could flourish through a well-designed and impartial process, amongst which still stands Firestone Liberia, the Liberia Agricultural Company (LAC), the Liberia American Mining Company (LAMCO), now overtaken by Arcellor Mittal, the Bong Mining Company (BMC) with China Union in the process to taking over its operations under a new contractual arrangement, other multi-million dollar concessions, particularly in the agricultural sector, involving the Liberia Agricultural Land Development and Mechanization Corporation (AGRIMECO), did not suave from the course as evidenced by the level of improvements brought to communities that they had operated.
For example, AGRIMECO, initially managed by the Israelis under the professional managerial hand of Mr. Amram BenZvi, son of a former and late President of Israel, established its base in Monrovia but the impact created in counties like Lofa, Foya District in particular, Grand Gedeh, Maryland, Cape Mount, Bong (the Kpatawee Rice Project) from which has in recent decades come to be recognized as source of revenue generation, evolving from the Kpatawee Waterfall, few miles from Senjay on the outskirts of Cuttington University, the Bill introduced by Representative Paye may just very politely be seeking to reinforce exactly that which buttresses good governance mechanisms aimed at ensuring accountability and transparency at the benefit of rural dwellers who control bulk of the nation’s economy.
Busy at his daily administrative chores at the Capitol and could not spare moments in helping provide this columnist with other resourceful backgrounds, the Chief of Staff at Representative Paye’s office, Mr. Sam Van Kesselly, Sr., who remains a professional mentor and former President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), could only and briefly refer me to decade of the 1980s, listing other viable projects like the Lofa, Bong and Nimba agricultural development projects as easy reference in which significant impacts were made on the lives of the rural population in improving their communities, with the late President William Richard Tolbert, Jr., as usual, credited out of having strategically designed four years development programme during his administration from which evolved continuity in the development of communities in Liberia.
While President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph Boakai, in our own but critical estimation, may have over the years vigorously pursued similar nation, following many years of senseless debacle, the Bill pursued by Hon. Francis S. Paye also buttresses the ongoing vision exercise since undertaken by the leadership, with Finance Minister Hon. Amara Konneh, in the forefront, although deserving the credit of now-Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Augustine Ngafuan.
Not in any way viewed as mere law-making in justification of the elected-position, but one done with extreme sobriety in removing rural dwellers from what had appeared a syndrome in castigating past leaderships for not having improved their lives, allegedly allowing some investors to invade the country out of profit-making initiatives and leaving its people living sub-standard lives, one can only hope that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Alex Tyler, along with his honorable men and women, would find reason in considering the Bill paramount and inclusionary to removing our people from the pervasive poverty to prosperity, the latter which remains major priority of the Unity Party-led government.
The true undercurrent of the Bill been national and not sectoral in scope, although with oil now reportedly found in the county or origin of the legislator sponsoring the Bill, it is already proving a plus to the current administration by having since begun putting into proper perspective plans leading to the exploration of the commodity by companies through an internationally-accepted bidding process, in speeding socio-economic development in Liberia.