National Bureau of Concession (NBC) Director – General Gregory O. W. Coleman has commended the management of Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) for speeding up with development following the mandate from the House of Representatives.
Recently SDPL was mandated by the Plenary of the House of Representatives to improve on the infrastructure at its plantation and improve the living standards of its workers following a complaint filed by some lawmakers accusing the company of bad labor practices.
As a regulatory body, the management of NBC was also mandated to work with Sime Darby to ensure that the House’s mandates were adhered to by the company.
In fulfilling that, NBC Director – General Coleman led a delegation to the plantation over the weekend to authenticate whether the company was in compliance. Speaking to reporters after the tour at the plantation, Coleman said he was impressed because the company has started addressing the issue of roofing employees and contractors’ houses, erecting hand pumps and upgrading their facilities.
“Even the upgrading, we can say we have to sit down and come out with a long-term plan and where we want to see these things and what standards we are setting for them over a period of time. The NBC will sit with them and come out with a plan,” he says.
Mr. Coleman points out that previously those standards were not set in the agreement for which types of housing, adding that they are now working with the company and setting those standards as to how they want them to be in 2018 for the Liberian people.
During the visit, Mr. Coleman and team visited the clinic at the plantation, the central high school, junior high and elementary schools operated by the company, the housing units, hand pumps and pit-latrines.
Speaking during a guarded tour of the campus of the lone high school in the system, Director – General Coleman lauded the company for the level of development being carried out toward the school system, and stressed that they have to do more.
“We need to ensure you have access to internet, computer and textbooks for the students. You just need to have one standard and should not be two. I am impressed and we need to collaborate to make our system what it ought to be,” he says.
The superintendent of the Sime Darby School System M. Momolu Kamara told reporters at the Plantation that the learning system there is better than before.
Mr. Kamara says the company must be commended for such tremendous efforts, saying it has revamped all of the schools in its system and buses have been provided to transport students to their various campuses at the plantation.
According to him, Mary’s Meal International School Feeding is also providing school feeding program at the plantation.
He says there are libraries and laboratory for schools at the plantation, adding that the school has 40 teachers with qualification ranging from ‘AA’ to bachelor and master degree levels.
He boasted that the school system continues to make excellent mark in the West African Examination Council (WAEC).
By Bridgett Milton –Edited by Winston W. Parley