President George Weah has called on citizens and lawmakers of Grand Bassa County to use dialogue to address issues and concerns between them and the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC) and not protest.
Citizens of the county along with lawmakers have planned to stage a protest against LAC due to an alleged bad concession, and they are demanding the revision of the agreement to meet the interest of the citizens.
Liberia continues to struggle in reaping benefits of concessions agreements over the years, a situation that has led to serious protests by citizens and employees of some companies.
The people of Grand Bassa County, precisely those living in the concession area in electoral district #3, presented separate petition statements to the president calling for the immediate revision and ratification of the agreement so as to meet present-day reality.
According to them, when reviewed, the agreement will improve the living conditions of Liberians, especially where LAC operates. In the petition, citizens said, “There must be a revision of the concession to mandate the company to pay royalty on billions of dollars extracted from this country since 1959.”
Rep. Vincent Willie, Grand Bassa’s fourth district representative told the gathering that LAC is the only concession company that has no social corporate responsibility clause inserted in its agreement, which now allows the company to provide corporate social responsibility at its will.
“Mr. President, the LAC concession is the only concession that is paying royalty at its will, and we believe that with the revision, we can mandate the company to provide corporate social responsibility,” Rep. Willie told President Weah.
“As we speak Mr. President, LAC gives us money at its will, but not a requirement as of the concession agreement. When the concession is reviewed, its royalty will be mandatory,” he added.
Responding to the citizens’ concerns, President Weah emphasized the need for people to always use dialogue to address situations and not protest.
According to the President, he recommended similar approach in Grand Cape County where Bea Mountain Mineral Concession is operating for which the company is now developing its area of operations, promising that similar situation will be applied to address the LAC case.
President Weah said he has asked the Internal Affairs Ministry to bring all concessionaires to the table for discussions, stating, “Liberia needs all these companies because they are providing job opportunities for Liberians.”
The citizens made the call on Friday, April 23, 2021 during President Weah’s citizen engagement as part of his county tour in Gorblea Town.