New ‘Watchdog’ to Monitor, Evaluate Country’s Natural Resources

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More than 44 stakeholders from 16 public institutions have unanimously agreed to form and become members of a Technical Working Group (TWG) to support the National Bureau of Concession, (NBC) to monitor and evaluate reporting procedures of the country’s natural resources.

The stakeholders made the commitment on Friday, December 6, at the end of a three-day intensive seminar organized by NBC in collaboration with USAID-Governance & Economic Management Support Project.

At the end of the specialized training, the stakeholders, formulated the first draft reporting templates of natural resources, including the mining sector, forestry and agriculture (rubber) for onward circulation of input.

Validation and endorsement to be used by the NBC and other related governmental agencies on monitoring the country’s natural resources.

NBC’s Deputy Director General for Operations, J. Allison Barco, explained that the Term of Reference (TOR) of the Group is to give support to NBC, in the form of a robust monitoring and evaluation system for tracking progress of implementation, compliance, scoring, and other fiscal and social functions, while establishing and maintaining an effective monitoring, evaluation and reporting procedure with more inclusive perspectives building on existing progress.

Amongst other things, Mr. Barco said that the TWG would support the modernizing of systems and strategize on ways of ensuring easy compliance in line with acceptable best practices. A secretariat was also established to serve as a nucleus of the working group.

Meanwhile, the Acting Director General of the NBC, Dickson Yarsiah said that in order for the country to be transformed, concessionaires must fully confine themselves to the agreement signed with the government of Liberia.

Mr. Yarsiah, who is also the former Representative of Gbarpolu County, during the 52nd Legislature, (2006-2012) noted that some companies are yet to fully comply with the agreement signed with the Government of Liberia.

“As a commission with the mandate to ensure that concession agreements benefit the citizens, we will seek to engage companies in pursuit of full compliance with concession agreements,” he declared.

According to the former lawmaker, Liberia has remained underdeveloped in the past because companies operating in certain concession areas did not deliver fully those social services needed for the locals.

He said that there was no mechanism put in place to strictly monitor their affairs at the time.

“The Ellen Johnson’s administration is the only regime so far that we know about in this country to evaluate and monitor investors to improve the living standard of Liberians,” he disclosed.

“To ensure that our children benefit from the resources of this country in the future, we are responsible to make certain that our country benefits from the doings of investors,” Yarsiah added.

He used the occasion to thank the Liberian government and the International Community for their commitments to supporting the work of the NBC. 

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