Deputy Lands and Mines Minister for Operations Sam Russ says government remains committed to ensuring that support is fully given to the Transmission Company for Cote d’ Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
According to Russ, the government’s commitment stems from the provision of funding for the organization’s operations. Since 2014, each CLSG member provides funding of US$1 million or more annually through their respective budgetary allocations for the project’s operations.
Dep. Min. Russ’s was addressing the regular session of the National Monitoring Committee. The weeklong session will be followed by the setting up of local committees, as well as the launch of the information and sensitization campaign for the implementation of the Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) and the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) here in Liberia.
According to Minister Russ, “We recognized that environmental concerns or ESIE, ESMP, RAP are extremely important components for the country’s infrastructure program because they represent significant risks to the program when they are not done properly”.
He said the attention the CLSG attaches to making sure that environmental issues and resettlement are appropriately addressed is in recognition of how important those issues are to the progress of infrastructural initiatives.
There have been some challenges with environmental and resettlement issues over time at the national level, and the current arrangement was more complex as a result of it being a transnational issue, he explained.
Liberia, he added, is synchronized with other countries and it was important that components of ESMP and RAP are done appropriately so that it can pose no risk in terms of synchronizing schedules for the four countries.
He expressed the need for the right groups to be targeted during the setting up of the local committees because they are important in terms of knowing more about the project, adding that the youth, women’s community, opinion leaders and men of local communities should have information about the project.
For his part, TRANSCO CLSG Environmental Coordinator Pakidame Kolani said that 190 hectares of trees will be affected by the project’s operations. He said that 112 persons will also be impacted during the operations, but plans are underway for those people to be compensated.
One of the challenges in terms of making the project better was national regulation and international standards, which the CLSG will ensure through the ESMP and RAP, Mr. Kolani said. About 17 districts in Nimba, Bong, Grand Bassa, Margibi and Montserrado counties will be affected during the construction of transmission lines.
Contractors for the CLSG EC are being recruited for the construction of the transmission lines. The construction of the lines, he added, will be completed by December 2018. Discussions are said to have begun with people located in the corridors of the transmission lines.