LIBERIA: House Calls Senate To Order s Senate On Bio CHICO Deal
By Randall George, GNN Liberia Legislative Correspondent
The House of Representatives of the 54th National Legislature of the Republic of Liberia has described as ‘Unconstitutional’ Senate ratification of the Bao Chico Concession Agreement; noting it is not against the agreement itself, but the process leading to its ratification
A release from the House’s Press and Public Affairs session is quoted as saying members of the House of Representatives are not against the Agreement but are being careful of the appropriation of their legislative functions.
According to the release, members of the House of Representatives acted upon Article 34d(i) of the Mineral Development Agreement(MDA) which among other things, states that “all revenue bills, whether subsidies, charges, imports, duties or taxes, and other financial instruments shall originate in the House of Representatives, however, the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on another bill”.
On Tuesday, November 5, the Liberian Senate ratified a proposed 25-year iron ore mineral extraction deal between the government and Bao CHICO Resources Ltd or BCC, forwarding said instrument to the House for concurrence.
Under the terms of the agreement, BCC, a Chinese engineering and construction company, is expected to extract iron ore from 87.4km of area in Liberia’s northwestern Gbarpolu County, the government announced backed in September.
The deal provides for millions of revenues for Liberia’s struggling economy, employment, and direct social benefits for communities.
The total value of the MDA is not known at this point. Gbarpolu has Kpo and Fanyea mountains located in the Belleh region.
When finalized, BCC will be the second Chinese company to explore iron ore in the country, joining China Union iron ore mining company which signed a $2.6 billion MDA with the Government in 2010 to extract ore from the Bong ranges in central Liberia.
However, the House of Representatives says its Joint Committees on Ways, Means, Finance, Development Planning, and Judiciary is currently conducting a public hearing on the Mineral Development Agreement between the Liberian Government and the Bao Chico Resources Liberia.