Henry B. Gboluma, Jr. *
The Chief Executive Officer of the Korninga ‘A’ Community Forest in Bopolu District, Johnson B. Flomo says their partner, Coveiyallah Investment Enterprise (CIE) is doing road rehabilitation works from Sappimah town to their concession area of Korninga Chiefdom.
He made the disclosure recently to a reporter in Gaikpai town, one of the concession’s affected communities of Korninga Chiefdom in Bopolu district.
On April 25, 2019, Korninga ‘A’ Community Forest Management Body (CFMB) signed 14 years third party logging agreement with CIE in Henry Town. The concession covers 48,298 hectares of land in Gbarpolu Electoral District #1.
The agreement outlined road rehabilitation, construction of paramount chief’s resident in Tawalata town in Bopolu District, payment of US1.50 per hectare annually as land rental fee out of which the affected communities will benefit 55% while the government will benefit 45%. In addition, the company agreed to contribute US15, 000.00 annually as scholarship funds.
Mr. Flomo said even though they have not sent money into their bank account, but the company has started the road works.
He said the road rehabilitations works was at the stand still due to the coronavirus disease, but has now restarted.
“As the coronavirus sickness is slowing down in the country, they are on the road works again and very soon they will start logging,” he said.
Gbarpolu County is reporting (10) COVID-19 confirmed cases according to the National Public Health Institute dashboard as of December 17, 2020.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the community forest said their business partner has promised to settle their social obligation soon.
Johnson noted: “We are calling on our people to be understanding, because our partner, Coveiyallah told us that they will settle all their social commitments when they start operations after the coronavirus.”
Meanwhile, Flomo said during the heat of the coronavirus, the logging company gave some COVID-19 preventive materials to them.
“We need to thank them as well because they helped us with some COVID-19 preventive materials: Like tie soap, chloral, and buckets with stickers marked with health messages on this virus.”
“We working together, so we made that donation says Varney M. Foboi, the Company’s Operation Manager.
He said: “All of the communities and villages in our control area, benefited from the 50 pieces of buckets plus other items donated through their leadership. In reality, the coronavirus affected us to the point that we have not been able to settle our social obligations to the communities all because we are not doing active logging.”
According to him, the opening of the company’s Sawmill is even be delayed due to the pandemic that is obstructing the arrival of the specialists from China.
“Our equipment for the Sawmill is here. However, because the engineers that supposed to install these sawmill machines are in China, so we just paused down temporarily due to the Coronavirus. He said, now that our Airport is open, by the time we get good news from China about this virus, will they arrive at set up the equipment.”
He said that 80% percent of the logs that will be harvested would be processed in their Sawmill that will be established in Gaikpai town, Gbarpolu County.
Meanwhile, communities’ members in the affected communities in Korninga Chiefdom have welcomed the news of the Sawmill establishment.
Arthur Volo and George Nangba, a prominent citizen and youth leader of the chiefdom believed that when the Sawmill is set up, it would boost the morale of the investment because it will create job opportunities for both men and women in the concession-affected areas and beyond.