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Rep. Kollie outlines problems in mining sector

By Jos Garneo Cephas
Representative, Moses Kollie  congratulating Rights and Rice Foundation (RRF), James Yarsiah
Representative, Moses Kollie congratulating Rights and Rice Foundation (RRF), James Yarsiah

(Mylbsonline.com/Liberia)- Lofa County Representative, Moses Kollie welcome a project aimed at facilitating information exchange between stakeholders and citizens in four mining counties of Liberia.

The project launched in Monrovia, is also intended to restore confidence and trust between stakeholders and the locals as it relates to the protection of their interest as enshrined in the social agreements.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Lofa County Representative, Kollie, called on local NGOs, concessionaires and government to address the problem of communication gaps and mistrust in the mining sector over the years.

The Project,” Enhancing Citizens’ Participation on Governance of Natural Resources’, seeks to ensure that the citizens benefit from their resources during the implementation stage. 

He said: “those days when logging trucks and earth moving yellow machines were penetrating our mining communities we had no one to ask “.

The official launch of the project took place Friday June 28, 2013 in Monrovia and brought together several networking partners.

The partners include the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI), Forestry Development Authority (FDA) the Environmental Development Agency (EPA) as well as concession companies, county officials and the Legislators.

Representative Kollie noted that the involvement of citizens and inputs in the mining communities about their development  is a milestone decision by OSIWA and RRF”.

He said: “Government wants to work with you in providing accountability. We are going to improve on that as a matter of urgency that is why we also have in place the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) bringing to bear transparency in what goes into agreements and concession activities”.

The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the founder of the project’s Country Director, Massa Crayton said: “OSIWA’s aim is to support the project to provide the space for transparency and good governance in Liberia”.

According to Ms. Crayton, the partnership with RRF is meant to encourage citizens’ participation in governance for empowerment to improve livelihood of deprived mining communities in the country.

She said: “When citizens’ rights are protected then will West Africa be freed with saver communities from chaos and political disenchantments”.

The project, put at US$ 121,000, will to take place in Bomi, Gbarpolu, Cape Mount and Lofa Counties for the next 18 months.

Rights and Rice Foundation (RRF) is a nongovernmental organization working for social justice and economic empowerment in Liberia.

Its aims, among other things, are to help Liberia have an equitable society characterized by respect for rule of law and equal opportunities for all.

R.R.F. Executive Director, James Yarsiah, said the program comes about as a manifestation of good work earlier done in four mining counties in Liberia.

He said: “The project has a lifespan of 18months and will improve the livelihoods of about 3,500 citizens of in seven mining districts in Bomi, Cape Mount, Gbarpolu and Lofa Counties. “

Mr. Yarsiah noted:  “The project  stands to encourage citizens’ participation in policy decisions  and  exchange ideas to better the lives of rural and urban dwellers in  these districts and communities, where the attraction of gold, diamond, iron ores are taken place. “

“These are areas in which mining has taken place for the past 50 years, with   experience of no tangible benefit for the inhabitants in the areas where the natural resources attractions took place”, Mr. Yarsiah noted.

 


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