A group of Civil Service Organizations has said that equitable use of Liberia’s natural resources would mitigate the negative consequences on the country’s socio-economic and political environment.
Natural Resource Management (NRM), in a position paper read by Vice Chairman, Jackson Spear, on Friday, December 20, at its Matadi office, raised several suggestions on the Petroleum and the NOCAL Acts for consideration.
NRM’s recommendations were focused on good institutional arrangement for the management of the petroleum sector, transparency, opportunities for the state, citizens’ participation and safety, and health and environment regulations.
On transparency, Mr. Spear commented on the fact that the Petroleum Act mandates government to report how much oil a company would produce during a given period, but suggested that it would better serve the interest of all Liberians if the PA monitored the full quantity of oil produced during the reporting period.
“By taking the market price per barrel of oil during the period, anybody can work out the math,” he said.
On safety, health, and environment, Mr. Spear said the bill should reflect on all environmental issues consistent with the Environmental Protection Laws of Liberia.
Vice chairman Spear’s NRM document said, “Article 36 of the PA on citizens’ participation is optional in which a citizen’s participation is submitted to the president within a year from the date of issue of the first exclusive exploitation.”
The NRM said this process should be reviewed as there is a timeline for the legislature to adopt such a law. “NOCAL’s management is not specified, so it is unclear how many citizens are selected in the meantime, and under what conditions they are to participate,” Mr. Spear mentioned in his document.
The NRM’s statement said contrary to the current practice, the president of Liberia, for the purpose of ensuring balance in the management of the National Oil Company of Liberia, NOCAL must follow the process of nominating senior staff of the Petroleum Directorate and NOCAL to the Legislature for scrutiny and confirmation.
On the pre-qualification guidelines in the bidding and tendering process, the NRM said applicants should satisfy the conditions that address the national and international standards with regard to social and human rights issues, such as wages, working hours, living conditions, resettlement, and shelter.
Earlier, the NRM Chairman, James Shilue, said the suggestions came from the end of a three-day meeting with the National Civil Society Council of Liberia, the Liberia Oil and Gas Initiative, and the Public-What-You-Pay Coalition.