Communities Affected by Commercial Logging in Liberia to Stage Sit-In-Actions at Finance Ministry, Liberia Forest and Climate Change Reliance Forum

In Demand of full Payment of Amount Appropriated In 2022 National Budget

Duazon, Margibi County/09/28/2022: Representatives of Communities affected by commercial logging in Liberia will on Thursday September 29, 2022 kickoff advocacy actions against the Liberian Government through sit-in-actions in demand for the full payment of the total amount appropriated in the 2022 National Budget and allotted in the MFDP financial payment system as part of 30% share of Land Rental Fees for communities affected by commercial logging in Liberia.

Chapter 14, section 14.2 of the National Forestry Reform Law of 2006 and FDA Regulation No. 106-07, part two section 24 and part three section 31call for thirty percent of land rental fees to communities entitled to benefit sharing under Forest Resources Licenses; thirty percent of land rental fees to counties.

Based on this, the National Benefit Sharing Trust (NBST) or the Trust was created by FDA Regulation No. 111-10 with the core mandate to receive, manage and disburse 30% share of land rental fees for communities affected by commercial logging.

In its latest report, the NBST said accessing the 30% community share of land rental fees from the national government has been a difficult thing and is a great concern for beneficiary communities and all stakeholders.

The government is legally obliged to provide the communities’ 30% share of the land rental fees paid by logging companies on a quarterly basis, but the government has not fulfilled these obligations.

In a press statement issued on Wednesday September 28, 2022 signed by Abu M. Kamara, General Secretary   and Andrew Y. Y. Zelemen, Head of Secretariat and approved by Vincent Doe, president of the National Union Of Community Forestry Development Committee (NUCFDC) recounted that after several engagements, since 2019 and with a series of discussions held, the government of Liberia paid US$200,000.00 against over US$5 million the government owed the communities in 30% share of land rental fees in 2021.

In this year’s (2022) National Budget, the MFDP made an appropriation of US$2.7 million against the over US$5 million the Government owed the communities.

The statement said “Regrettably, nearly 9 months into the Fiscal year 2022, only about US$100,000.00 out of US$500,000.00 allotted in June has entered the National Benefit Sharing Trust Account. US$400,000.00 out of the US$500,000.00 is yet to enter the NBST Account after depositing the checks three times. Even if the US$500,000.00 is paid, it’s represents only 18% of the US$2,746,000.00 appropriated in the 2022 National Budget for the communities.”

“This is unfortunate and does not represent a true meaning of the government Pro – Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, members of the affected communities have vowed to stage a sustain advocacy actions until the Government of Liberia pays all the amount appropriated in the 2022 National Budget and allotted in the MFDP Financial System.

According to the statement, the affected communities will have a sit-in action at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning starting on Thursday, September 29, 2022; sit-in action at the upcoming Liberia Forest and Climate Change Reliance Forum starting Wednesday October 5, 2022; petitions to the offices of the President of the Republic of Liberia, and key International Partners supporting forestry activities in Liberia.

They lamented that the payment of community 30% shares of Land Rental Fees have become like none important priority for the Government of Liberia.

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About Joel Cholo Brooks 13517 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.
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