Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), a company with huge investment in oil palm in Sinoe County has disclosed plans to construct an oil mill complex in the country.
An Executive Mansion press release quoting the Senior Comptroller of GVL, Mr. Jeffrey Benson, said the move will add value to the company’s operations in the country.
Speaking during a meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is currently on a visit to the county, Mr. Benson added that the mill will be fully operational in 2016 and will create hundreds of jobs for community residents in the company’s operational area.
According to the press release issued here Tuesday, the mill is expected to be constructed in Tarjuowon District in Sinoe County, where GVL has a large oil palm plantation.
Mr. Benson pledged the company’s commitment to upholding the provisions of the Concession Agreement signed with the government, adding that GVL is fully aware of the farming needs of the local communities and will do nothing to prevent the people from farming, contrary to claims by those resisting the company’s operations.
He named farming rights, respect to freely express grievances, and the right to give out or not to give out their land, as some portions of the Agreement that the GVL adheres to.
“Madam President, we have initiated a program called participatory mapping which include the citizens, which will lead to them advising us where we can expand or not in protecting their sacred areas; and this has greatly helped us in resolving some of the land problem we had from the initial stage,” Mr. Benson said.
He expressed gratitude to government for granting GVL the opportunity to invest in southeastern Liberia and promised to buttress government’s effort to improve the lives of the people.
In response, President Sirleaf said she was delighted at the level of peace and understanding now prevailing between local residents and the company, and admonished GVL to remain further engaged with the people.
The Liberian leader assured that her government will continue to protect the rights of the two sides, and particularly praised Paramount Chief Johnnie Brown for his mediatory role in resolving issues that seriously slowed down the company’s operation.
President Sirleaf lauded the company’s plan to construct an oil mill in Sinoe County, describing such move as in the right direction, as Liberia was now fully ready for investment with ten years of uninterrupted peace.
Dispute with citizens in some parts of GVL operational areas undermined the company’s progress in recent times. The intervention of government helped in the dialogue and engagement process, the Executive Mansion press release said.