Liberia Risks Conflict over Natural Resources Governance – Says Greg Coleman

By Moses R. Quollin +231770922412/+231880922412 (Liberia Forest Media Watch) 

Former Director General of the National Bureau of Concession, Gregory O. Coleman

Former Director General of the National Bureau of Concession, Gregory O. Coleman says Liberia current approach to managing investments, mostly the natural resources sector risks conflict due to lack of political wills or limited commitments to ensure the benefits of affected citizens.

“Liberia current approach to managing investment in natural resources is having an adverse effect on the country’s social, political and economic dynamics, which has got the propensity of increasing the risk of conflict,” he noted in a strong worded statement on December 13, 2019 in Monrovia.

To solidify the peace and move towards greater stability, the former Police Director said, a new approach is needed to manage natural resources pointing out that the main challenge facing the government is how to manage the competing political and social-economic interests that arise with an influx in investments, while creating a stable enabling environment that will continue to attract investor.

Recently, the country scored, amidst other low percentages—half of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) scorecard, got 21% in natural resource protection as reported by FrontPageAfrica news magazine in November of this year.

According to the report, Liberia for the first time since 2009 felt sharply on the annual assessment of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a collection of 20 independent, third-party indicators that measure a country’s policy performance in the areas of economic freedom, ruling and investments.

In the words of Gregory, irresponsible governance has over the period of times led Liberia to worst situations, “in the years of extraction, it is expected from responsible governance of natural resources that portion of the income is transform to sustainable prosperity for future generation.”

To further backing his argument, frowning even on most recent performances of the national government, Gregory alert initial research conducted in 2012 on conflict dynamic affected by natural resource extraction and identified some issues as quoted.

“Despite regulatory and governance reform, the awarding of concession agreements is still being conducted behind closed doors, specifically to affected communities, thus fueling mistrust amid reports of corruption.”

“Social developments clauses of concessionary agreements are not benefiting either the affected communities nor the wider population; they have so far failed to translate into meaningful improvements in livelihoods, social services and basic infrastructure, therefore reinforcing existing inequalities.”

“Both sectors require the provision of land, and, given the already complex issue of land ownership, the acquisition of land by foreign companies in further complicating existing local tensions and communal rivalry.”

“We cannot be irresponsible and use everything we had today without thinking about the future and the future unborn.” Coleman blasted.

However, with resilience and commitment by leaderships and people, Gregory also pointed out some strides made by the national government in correcting the wrong.

Such included: The Land Right Act; the national mineral policy aimed at limiting political interference in the award, suspension and cancelation of mineral right; the PPCA established the Public Procurement & Concessions Commission (PPCC); the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, and others efforts applied as well.

The Former NBC boss, assertions were contained in a keynote speech delivered at the national resource governance award ceremony organized by the NGO Coalition of Liberia.

In remarks, the NGO Coalition of Liberia national facilitator Richard Hoff disclosed that the event was second following last year after 15 years of work within the natural resource sector.

He said the aim is to recognize and appreciate the efforts of those working around natural resource issues affecting communities in Liberia.

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