Disabled Frown Upon Exclusion

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Disable Community Representative George Flomo.jpg

Liberian disable community wants "inclusive" participation in the emerging oil and gas sector, George K. Flomo has said.

Mr. Flomo represented 'disables' of Margibi County at ongoing Nationwide Public Engagement on the Draft Petroleum Law spearheaded by the House of Representatives and the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL).

The program was hosted in Kakata City, Margibi County with representatives from various districts in attendance.

Highlighting the plights of disables yesterday Mr. Flomo who is also a disable frowned on their continue exclusion from the oil and gas process, stressing, "We also have the potential and need to be part of this process."

"There has been no time that persons with disability have been appointed or called to participate in these processes. Talking about scholarship for advanced education to work in the sector, disables have been neglected. Taking about the draft law to govern the sector, there is nothing spelled out about persons with disability. We think that should be corrected immediately as the lawmakers solicit the inputs of the people," he said.

Mr. Flomo was amongst over two hundred delegates invited to discuss and make personal inputs on the draft legislation.

Responding to the quest of the disables, the NOCAL delegation including Jonathan Sengbew welcomed their inputs, adding that most of the work involving the sector “requires able-body people.”

However, NOCAL assured the disables of doing everything possible to include qualified disables in the working of the sector.
Speaking at the start of the program, House Speaker Alex J. Tyler lauded the efforts of the county and people, stressing the importance of the forum to the development and sustainability of Liberia’s peace.

“We are here to discuss about what we going to do to make oil a blessing and not a curse. We need the people’s participation so that when we find oil, we can be placed in a better position to manage the resources to develop our country,” he said.

Also making remarks, Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper praised the House for an initiative to take the draft legislation to the people.

“The wider participation of the people in this process is welcoming and I promise to do the same on my legislative tour across the county.

“This oil thing will not just affect this generation now but our unborn children will also benefit. It’s important that we Liberians are prepared in order to manage the industry when full operations start, Senator Cooper indicated.

The draft legislation seeks to replace the Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy as lead ministry to the Ministry of Petroleum (MoP).

According to the document, all revenue collected from the oil and gas sector before oil is found will be deposited in the Government’s Consolidated Fund in accordance with the Public Financial Management law.

“All contractors, their subcontractors and respective employees shall be subject to taxes, user fees and custom duties in accordance with the Revenue Code. Liberians are to have the first priority on employment opportunities. The companies must provide training programs in various aspects of petroleum operations for Liberians,” the draft legislation maintained.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue disclosed that Rivercess and Grand Bassa counties are the next venues for the consultations and at the same time encouraged citizens of both counties to form part of the discussions in the coming days.

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