Liberia’s reform oil law on hold as House, Senate disagree


johnson sirleaf18 September 2013, Monrovia – Liberia’s House of Representatives during its second seating failed to concur with the Liberian Senate on the passage of the National oil reform law before taking its Agriculture Break.

The House of Representatives Friday failed to pass the bill into law after a public hearing conducted by that august body the day before attended by several prominent individuals and professionals from various institutions in Liberia provided advice.

The House of Representatives decision comes barely two days after the passage of the bill into law by the Liberian Senate as a result of a one-day public hearing conducted with a Ghanaian oil expert at the capitol building.

During the hearing Mr. Kwamie Jantuah said, the Liberian proposed oil law is unique but warned of ambiguous phrases that could cause future embarrassment.

He said despite the uniqueness of the law, there is still a need for amendment especial the portion that talks about local content.

Mr. Jantuah noted that the local content portion of the law if put into proper context and implemented could provide jobs for all Liberians and stressed the need for capacity building of Liberians whose skills will be needed in the oil sector.

Speaking earlier the Senate committee chair on Lands, Mines and Energy, Senator Cletus Wotorson (UP-Grand Kru County) said, the drafting of an oil law is a result of research made in countries which include Kenya, Norway and based on advices by some reputable international and local law firms.

The law among several other things calls for the setting up of a Ministry of petroleum, an independent regulatory body that will take over most of the functions of the national oil company (NOCAL), and limiting NOCAL only a commercial company. Senator Wotorson also told reporters that if the bill is passed, it would be subject to review based on future occurrences in the country’s oil sector.

He promised that issues raised by the Ghanaian oil expert will be taking into serious consideration in the finalization of the law and that the issue of local content, and Revenue, state fund and General management are been given serious priority in the law. The bill after several minutes of discussion was voted upon for passage by senators and was subsequently sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

The lower House chose not to concur with the Senate because according to them they need more time to read the bill and they need to discuss it with their constituencies to have them make their inputs during the agriculture break. The passage of the reform oil law will lead the way for future Negotiation for other oil blocks.

– FrontPage Africa

About the Author