An Act, when passed by the Legislature, will compel companies to establish offices in capital cities of counties in which they operate. The Act is currently before the Senate Committee on Concessions and Investments.
This comes almost two years after the Act was submitted to Senate plenary by Rivercess County Senator Francis Paye.
Senator Paye, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Security, Pension and Insurance, in an interview with the Daily Observer, said the Act was one of the first legislations he sent to the Senate following his election in the December 2014 Special Senatorial Election poll.
Despite the delay, Senator Paye told this newspaper that he is still hopeful that his colleagues will see wisdom in his instrument and give it their blessing in the interest of the people they serve.
According to him, the Act will grant economic empowerment to local citizens and residents, and infrastructural development should be realized from the presence of investors in counties where they directly operate.
“The decentralization of development should be felt in every sector of our society, especially the custodians of the natural resources,” Paye declared, adding that it is another way of saving counties with concessions from facing similar fates like the former Liberia Mining Company (LMC), Bong Mining Company, LAMCO and NIOC, among others.
Upon passage of the Act, he said “all companies operating in the country shall have their offices constructed and ready for use within four months in the communities or counties of operation…any act of non-compliance or violation of any sort shall be punishable by a fine of not less than US$10,000 as a first offense, and double for subsequent violations.”
Senator Paye, who left his House of Representatives seat to defeat Senator J. Jonathan Banney in the 2014 special polls, further stated in his sponsored Act that, persistent non-compliance to the content of the law should lead to an immediate revocation of all operating licenses or documents and a fine of not less than US$15,000 and not more than US$50,000.
Rivercess County is rich in natural resources, especially in the forestry sector. It is one of the counties said to have oil blocks.
Senator Paye’s concern comes in the wake of the recently released report by the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD), which revealed that there are currently 18 Bills in committee.