The National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections or NAYMOTE ends a day- long stakeholder’s dialogue with affected concession communities in Pleebo, Maryland County, southeast Liberia.
The meeting, which focuses on concession agreement and implementation, held in the Pleebo City Hall was graced by youth representatives, chiefs and elders, women representatives, Civil Society Organization, District Development Council, representatives of concession companies and the media, among others.
NAYMOTE regional coordinator Lawrence Myers, who is also Maryland County Coordinator for Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative Project or LAVI welcoms the participants and notes that the county level dialogue with concessionaires is geared towards discussing implementation of concession agreements signed with the government.
He says the initiative is part of the Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative project, implemented by NAYMOTE and partners through Natural Resource Management or NRM coalition across Liberia, which seeks to enhance accountability and transparency in the management of County Social Development Funds.
As a member of the NRM coalition, NAYMOTE is implementing the project in six districts in three counties namely; Jorquelleh and Boisen in Bong County, Pleebo and Harper in Maryland, as well as Potupo and Webbo in River Gee, respectively.
Myers continues that the essence of re-conducting the concession agreement and implementation dialogue is to provide more education to stakeholders on how to go about engaging concession companies for the benefit of citizens situated in communities that are affected by their operations.
Maryland County holds two concession companies that are involved with the growing of rubber and oil palm, and have been operating in the county for several years.
Stakeholders attending the meeting, who spoke to this paper in PleeboSodoken Statutory District, laud NAYMOTE for the level of education provided, adding that they now have a broad knowledge on how to engage the Cavalla Rubber Corporation and Maryland Oil Plam Plantation relative to the agreement signed and its implementation.
AlfrfedNyema and Joe Wilson, both youth leaders residing in two of the affected communities told this writer that the knowledge acquired from the dialogue will be passed over to their community members through town hall meetings upon return to their respective communities.
During the dialogue, citizens complain that the two companies are not perfectly living up to implementation of the concession agreement.
The manager for community and public relations of the SIFA group of companies Mr. Martin Nyeka says residents are aware of the agreement, but are not fully discussing it at the community level.
According to him, copy of the agreement was presented to committee set up in every affected community for citizens to read and always remind the companies in case they fail to implement what was placed in the document.
However, Mr. Nyeka in collaboration with participants fully agreed to embark on a massive awareness through town hall meetings as well as making proper use of the local media to propagate issues in their interest.
Meanwhile, NAYMOTE is expected to conduct another county level dialogue with concessionaires in Potupo District, River Gee County, today, November 8, 2017.
By George K. Momo/ Maryland-Editing by Jonathan Browne