The House of Representatives has warned against the hurried passage of the Draft Petroleum Law currently before the Legislature amidst public outcry of it being deliberate.
At a news conference yesterday Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue, scrutinizing the Draft Petroleum Act, said it was intended to secure the energy of the country where the future lies.
“We need to take time to review this draft law before mistakes that were made by the country’s past leaders that plunged the country into bloodletting is repeated.”
Rep. Barchue went on, “Our people need to be tolerant to ensure that revenues that will be generated from the country’s gas and oil benefit the country in every aspect of development.”
Mr. Barchue, who also chairs the Draft Petroleum Law’s Nationwide Tour, stated that during the dissection of the Draft Petroleum Law, they have learned that the discovery of “gas” has been left out in the Draft Petroleum Law.
He said the scrutinizing process of Draft Petroleum Law is in its third phase with the rewriting of the Petroleum Laws by international petroleum experts in consultation with “our national petroleum experts.”
According to the Deputy Speaker, the hired experts and the national experts will shortly complete the new draft legislation that would also address pertinent issues including youth, education among others.
He announced that the fourth phase will require the look-over of the “New Draft Petroleum Law” and the final phase will be the National Oil and Gas Conference wherein oil and gas experts as well as Liberians across the country will sit to validate the draft law.
“At the end of the conference the House will pass the Petroleum Law,” Deputy Speaker Barchue said.
Meanwhile, the Grand Bassa lawmaker used the platform to call for Liberians’ involvement in the discussion of the new petroleum law.
He stressed that citizens’ involvement in the petroleum law discussion will strengthen the Lawmakers to enact a just law that will benefit every citizen in the Liberian society.
According to him, the process requires a holistic approach so that when passed into law it will profit the country.
He reminded reporters that the draft petroleum, which was submitted to the National Legislature by the National Oil Company, is currently before the House of Representatives for consideration. The draft legislation has already been passed into law by the Liberian Senate.
Meanwhile, as part of the first phase in the process to ensure that the country’s gas and oil profit the country, the Grand Bassa County lawmaker said the House of Representatives took the draft law to the people through a nationwide consultation, bringing opinion leaders of the 15 sub political -division together.
He said the sum of US$ 900,000.00 (nine hundred thousand United States Dollars) was used.
The Deputy Speaker reminded the media that Liberia will not experience the needed levels of development unless development reaches the rural communities.
Giving reason why his Steering Committee that spearheaded that nationwide oil consultation has not made a comprehensive report on the usage of the US$900,000.00 he replied; “We cannot give a comprehensive report on the usage of the amount in question simply because the process has not been concluded.”
“The House of Representatives will give a detailed report to the Liberian people on the usage of the US$ 900,000.00 once the entire process has been concluded.
“We would like to appeal to our people to give us a chance in this direction” Rep. Barchue pleaded.
He at the same time dispelled claims from some quarters that the House of Representatives diverted the money, but in a rejoinder, Bachue told the press that the money was spent directly on the process and was not corrupted as being insinuated in some quarters.
The second phase was a roundtable discussion which brought to the fore oil and gas experts from Ghana, Nigeria and the USA.