For not being people-centered
President George M. Weah has frowned on concession companies operating in Liberia for their failure to prioritize citizens’ interest and threatened to replace any concession company that will not live up to its social responsibility to the people.
President Weah made the statement Saturday, February 13, 2021, while engaging citizens in Kokoyah District, Bong County following complaints by residents that Alph Logging Company and MNG Gold were allegedly working and extracting resources from the land without any concern for the wellbeing of the citizens.
According to the citizens, MNG Gold’s mining operation is getting houses in the vicinity to experience cracks while water sources are contaminated, and Alpha Logging Company too has reportedly failed to construct a bridge that will benefit both the citizens and the company.
In addition to complaints of polluting water sources and cracking of houses in Korkoyah, the citizens highlighted some bad labor practices and “poor” mineral development agreement and corporate social responsibility of companies operating in Bong County evidenced by the Alpha Logging Company’s failure to erect a bridge, which the citizens claimed if erected, will be used by both the company and residents.
The citizens of Kokoyah District were seen with placards calling on President Weah to quickly intervene especially in the issue of houses that are said to be experiencing cracks as a result of mining operations carried out by MNG Gold.
President Weah said the social responsibilities of concession companies are intended to address the social needs of the community in which they operate, and therefore any company reneging to improve the lives of the people will be replaced with new ones.
President Weah further described as ‘outrageous’ report from citizens that the multimillion-dollar company, Alpha Logging Company, “has threatened to discontinue operations if government compels it to construct a bridge.”
“This is Liberia, and it is our responsibility to make sure that companies operating herein work in the interest of our people,” President Weah re-emphasized.
The President’s visit to Kokoyah District, Bong County where MNG Gold operates is part of his county tour that is aimed at listening to citizens’ plights and appreciating them for his election as President of Liberia in 2017.
“We will work with your lawmakers to craft all the good and implementable ideas. We all need to support them to push it for passage, and I will do the signing and finishing touches for the good of Liberia,” President Weah assured.
President Weah who is accompanied by a huge number of government officials including lawmakers called on members of the Legislature to review the contract of companies that are not working in the interest of the Liberian people, something he said was essential to the Pro-poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity.
“We will not allow Liberians to be threatened in their own country. We must ensure that every company operating in Liberia considers our interests. Your issues will be addressed,” President Weah assured the citizens.
The Liberian leader said his government will not be deterred to alter any company’s concession if the company reneges to develop the community where it operates.
The concessions companies have come under intense criticisms from the public across Liberia due to what they termed as bad labor practices, lack of proper mineral development agreement and corporate social responsibility.
During the town hall meeting, President Weah also called on the citizens to be patient because according to him, it is not easy to address those demands but achievable.