The chairperson of the House’s Standing Committee on Concessions has pledged the support of the Liberian Legislature to the National Bureau of Concessions or NBC to ensure full compliance of concession agreements in the country.
Representative Eugene Fallah Kparkar said the NBC will be empowered to enforce compliance; not just to monitor and report on activities of concession companies here. He made the pledge at the official launch of the Concession Information Management System or CIMS and Concession Reporting Template or CRT held over the weekend at that Monrovia City Hall.
The Lofa County lawmaker stressed the need to give the NBC legislative enforcement powers to ensure that all concessionaires comply in accordance with the law, terms of concession agreements signed with the Government of Liberia.
He said monitoring and reporting on activities of the concession sector have been lacking over the years, and that developing the CIMS and CRT will enhance adequate information dissemination to the public about the sector.
Representative Kparkar emphasized that the concession sector is vital to the growth and development of the economy, adding that it should be given priority to transform the living standard of the Liberian people. The National Bureau of Concessions in collaboration with USAID Governance and Economic Management Support Project or USAID-GEMS officially launched a new concession monitoring and reporting software tools aimed at assuring concessions integrity through compliance monitoring and evaluation.
Also speaking during the launch, NBC Director General, Ciata Bishop, noted that the software will enhance predictability to government’s revenue streams through the use of current reported and verified data being used in fiscal and other statistical models and analytical tools.
Madam Bishop further stated that the NBC will make best efforts to establish the processes necessary for the implementation of uniformed national sectorial templates, which enable effective communication and reporting between the Concessionaires and the Government in minimizing the various reporting lines.
She described the “Concessions Information Management System or CIMS” and the “Concessions Reporting Template or CRT” as tools intended to facilitate the monitoring of concessions by the government thru accurate and timely information to existing and new investors, and streamlining reporting by Concessionaires.
“The CIMS is a comprehensive concession management solution specifically configured to cater for the needs of the Government of Liberia’s concession management entities,” NBC boss indicated. She said the CIMS provides a single version of the truth when it comes to concessions management and offers a public portal, which presents spatial data for all concessions, adding that these tools were developed by Spatial Dimension, a South African Cadastre Software Company, with support from the USAID-GEMS Project.
Launching the CIMS and CRT, Cllr. Steward Cooper lauded the NBC and USAID for the level of support provided in making the exercise a success, which he described as a milestone that will enable the Government of Liberia effectively manage what is happening in the concessionary sector of the country.
He said the activities of the Cadastre put together to enable the government of Liberia do effective stock taking to facilitate economic planning, development planning, social planning and effectively predict revenues to be generated both in terms of royalty and taxes.
Cllr. Cooper added that the CIMS and CRT will allow the Government of Liberia to effectively evaluate what is happening to ensure concessions are engaged in activities consistent with the agreements with regard to the natural benefits of the people of Liberia.
For her part, a representative of UNDP speaking on behalf of Country Director, Madam Janice James lauded the Government of Liberia and partners for making the exercise a real success. She said this is an exemplary performance of Liberia’s commitment to governance in the extractive industry.
By Ben P. Wesee – Edited by Jonathan Browne