LIBERIA: AWLC, Putu Sign Social Accord After Riot Over Logging

Grand Gedeh County Superintendent Kai G. Farley

Grand Gedeh County Superintendent Kai G. Farley has described the signing of a social agreement between African Wood and Lumber Company (AWLC) and the Putu Community as a positive development that will ensure job creation.

The signing ceremony between community stakeholders and AWLC Chief Executive Officer, Ceasar Columbo, at Petroken Tiama Town, Putu Administrative District, was witnessed by an array of former and current local officials.

Under the agreement, according to information gathered by LINA, the company will fell logs and later build a sawmill, while locals represented by the Community Forest Management Group (CFMG), a committee of 32 members representing all sixteen towns of Putu headed by chairman Arthur Gbagbo, will receive a monthly social development fund of US$30,000 to be paid on a quarterly basis.

In addition, the community will be given two power saws, scholarships for manpower development as well as periodic grading of roads linking the district headquarters Pennokon to other towns, among others.

The signing ceremony followed heated arguments that resulted in the blockade of the convoy of the county superintendent and party en route to the town by disgruntled citizens and residents and stone-throwing before calm was restored on Friday, January 18.

The restoration of calm gave way to the formal signing ceremony last Sunday that brought relief to residents, who termed it as boosting the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) Pillar Two that has to do with the economy and job creation.

AWLC CEO Columbo, who signed on behalf of his entity, promised to prioritize citizens and residents of the concession-affected area in Putu Administrative District for jobs, while the company’s consultant, Chris Beh Bailey, along with eminent women leader Ruth J. Milton, both former superintendents the county, hailed the agreement as a milestone for job creation.

They, however, urged residents to handle their grievances with maturity and peacefully to attract more investors to the area.


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