The president of the National Union of Community Forestry Development Committee (NUCFDC), Matthew Walley, has commended the government for fulfilling its obligation to over 22 communities affected by operations of the commercial logging in the country with regards to the National Forestry Reform law (NFRL) of 2006.
Mr. Walley made the disclosure to journalists over the weekend in Monrovia that, in July, the Government of Liberia (GoL) deposited US$1M in the account of the National Benefit Sharing Trust (NBST), the mechanism through which affected communities can directly access their benefits from land rental fee payments made by logging companies in the country.
Mr. Walley said the amount represents 50 percent of the money expected to benefit communities that are directly affected by logging activities in the country.
He said the Government of Liberia being cognizant of its social responsibility to its citizens amended the National Forestry Law of 2000 to reflect current day realities, thus leading to the crafting and enactment of the 2006 NFRL.
He indicated that the previous Forestry Law made no adequate provision for the fair treatment of forest communities.
Walley called on the government to take seriously its obligations to deliver social and economic benefits to its citizens. He said it was paramount for government not to be complacent, but to live by the terms and conditions of the new forestry law.
He believes that is the way the remaining 50 percent would be able to be paid to the communities without delay to avoid putting logging businesses at risk.
Walley assured the government and stakeholders that the funds received would be used for its intended purpose. He urged representatives from the 22 affected communities to work the NBST to access the funds.