19 March 2014, Monrovia – Liberians living in rural areas have recommended the establishment of the Public Interest Commission (PIC) and Petroleum Commission (PC), to ensure the transparent expenditure of revenue generated from oil. They suggested that membership of the PIC comprise Trade Unions of Liberia, Chamber of Commerce, Association of Liberia Industries, Press Union of Liberia and Christian and Muslim organizations.
According to the Liberia News Agency (LINA), they suggested that the Petroleum Commission shall be charged with the responsibility of ensuring the scrupulous implementation of recommendations from the Public Interest Commission. The recommendations were contained in the final report of the National Legislature, from the recent nation-wide public engagements on the Draft Petroleum Exploration and Production Act 2013.
The National Legislature released the final report of the nationwide public engagements during the just-ended Monrovia Stakeholder Roundtable Consultations on the Draft Petroleum Act. In the Report, the Liberians also stressed the need for the establishment of a regulatory and monitoring system to verify the actual expenditure of international oil companies operating in the country.
They further said contrary to Section 14.4 of the draft Act, which stipulates that the Public Procurement and Concession Law shall not apply to the licensing of petroleum agreements, the Act should be amended to ensure that licensing of petroleum agreements are concluded in compliance with the Public Procurement and Concession Law.
At the same time, the citizens have proposed that the draft Act should mandate the refining in Liberia of specific portion of crude oil that will be discovered in the country. The rural dwellers also recommended a reduction of a surface block to 1,000 square kilometers instead of 2,000 as stipulated in Section 6.3 of the Draft Act, under the constitution of Oil Blocks.
– The New Dawn