The House of Representatives has concurred with the Liberian Senate on the ratification of the Investment Incentive Agreement between Liberia and Golden SIFCA.
The Act was recently submitted to the legislature by President George Weah for ratification.
Upon receipt, the House of Representatives forwarded the agreement to its committees on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for scrutiny and subsequent advice to the body.
As per the agreement, the committees said in a report to the plenary on Thursday that the investor shall develop, construct and operate a Palm Oil Mill with an initial capacity of 40 tons per hour by the end of 2019 to be expanded to an additional 40 tons per hour during the 28-year term agreement.
The committees also indicated that Golden SIFCA is a Liberian-registered corporation with offices in Pleebo City, Maryland County. It represents a joint venture investment equally held by the Maryland Oil Palm Plantation (MOPP) and Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL).
It also indicated that the, MOPP operates under an existing concession agreement in Maryland County concession area of 8,800 hectares while GVL operates under an existing concession agreement in Sinoe County, signed in September 2010, to plant and process palm oil within a listed concession area of 220,000 hectares.
The committees also said the agreement seeks to support the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda by providing jobs for its citizens and also improving the lives of ordinary Liberians.
Following the committees report, the House unanimously voted to concur with the Liberian Senate on the ratification of the agreement.
In a related development, the Plenary of the House of Representatives has ratified the ‘Financing Agreement’ between Liberia and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Recently, it can be recalled that upon submission by President George Manneh Weah, members of the House of Representatives voted that the committees on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning, Agriculture and Judiciary take an in-depth look at the Financing Agreement, which totals an amount of US$23,826,000 split into two, with one part being loan and the other a grant.
In a communication which accompanied the Agreement, President Weah informed the House that the financing instrument seeks to increase income and improve the livelihood of poor smallholders cocoa producers and their households.
However, in the committees’ report to plenary on Thursday, it was indicated that the agreement will benefit about 15,000 households of which 10,000 will be cocoa smallholder farmers and the remaining 5,000 in the hinterland will benefit from improved roads, input supplies, market linkages and spill-over effects along the value chain under the operations of the Ministry of Agriculture.
The committees noted that the agreement specifically, targets communities in Lofa and other counties.
It said that the loan is free of interest but will bear a service charge of three-fourths of 0.75 percent per annum payable semi-annually on each February 15 and August 15 in United States dollars.
The agreement, according to the committees, shall have a maturity period of 40 years, including a grace period of 10 years, starting from the date of approval of the loan by the Fund’s Executive Board.
Accordingly, the committees indicated that after its appraisal of the agreement it was observed that Liberia will benefit as the agreement per its objective is one of the government’s key drives to seek a stable macroeconomic growth, greater competitiveness and diversification of the economy under the Pro-Poor Agenda.