Vice President Joseph N. Boakai wants Liberians to be patient concerning the benefits that would eventually flow when the discovery of oil in commercial quantities becomes a reality.
Speaking at the close of a roundtable discussion on the Draft Petroleum Law over the weekend, Vice President Boakai encouraged Liberians to manage their expectations about the oil and gas sector, regardless of expert opinions that after the exploration process, “It would take about five to seven years before commercial oil drilling begins.”
“Sometimes you hear people say that after all these exercises we will not get a drop of oil until after five to seven years. That shouldn’t raise any concern since many people, who lived long before us are not going to benefit from the oil. They have been there all of this time, but did not get a chance. Now we have to wait for seven years before benefiting; so why should it matter? We will still wait,” he said.
“What is important here is that we are all getting to do it for the first time; and these dialogues and discussions are helpful to the process,” Vice President Boakai said.
He praised the presence of foreign experts, who have come to assist Liberia in drafting a better law to govern the sector.
In remarks, House Speaker J. Alex Tyler showed excitement over developments related to the sector.
He noted that the second of the three phases of events surrounding draft laws had been successful; a national conference to include as many people as possible will shortly get underway way; then the draft legislation in the chambers of the House will follow, for discussion.
“We have to understand that this country belongs to all Liberians; whether it is the Legislature, the Executive or the Judiciary involved in a process, we have to give it the support it deserves. The product of that will be to the benefit of the whole country. It is about time that we became focused as Liberians, in order to set the pace for our forward march.”
He encouraged the setting up of a legal framework for the oil sector. “It is not a choice—it is a must that the Legislature moves in such a direction.
The closing brings to an end, a week-long discussion that paved the way for a planned mass gathering in Monrovia. That gathering will entertain the views of student groups, the business community, religious and political leaders, among others.