Malaysian Oil Company, Sime Darby, which has been in Liberia since 2009 for 800 million dollars investment, has begun serious business.
On Saturday, Sime Darby started the first phase of its full operation that is the planting of oil palm seed.
A big ceremony well attended by senior government official headed by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, was held in Garwula, Grand Cape Mount County, on the first oil palm nursery site of the company.
Welcoming the vice-president and his delegation, the Managing Director of Sime Darby Plantation, Dato Azhar Abdul Hamid, firstly spoke highly of the Liberian government.
“Liberia is a great country; it has built a good leadership that is respected internationally, a leadership that has consistently demonstrated its commitment to develop and transform this nation.”
“A country that has natural resources and therefore has the potential to be a great agricultural nation capable of being self sufficient in food, capable of earning huge foreign exchange.”
For the Managing Director of Sime Darby, the enormous natural resources in Liberia are a beef to the economy. “If we are lucky of planting about a million hectare of plantation, that will be a strong back hold for this country. We at Sime Darby will not only identify with the Poverty Reduction Strategy, we will also support it.” He said.
For his part, Vice-President Joseph Boakai, who spoke on behalf of the government of Liberia, referred to the presence of Sime Darby in Liberia as an achievement, a fulfillment of promises made during the electoral campaign. “When a government comes to power, people make promises; be it the government or the legislators; they make promise and say that we will insure that we bring investment in the country.
We will insure that you get jobs, school will be built, at that time you don’t ask them how you think this is going to happen. Right after that they go around to places, talk to people, and they put ideas together as to how this thing is going to happen.
We have to insure that there is a policy in the country, to make sure that we encourage people to believe in our government, to make those things happen. When we talk about the government we talk about the executive, beginning with the first branch of government, the legislature, the legal system in the country, all of them have been working together to make sure that that these promises made will be made possible to benefit the lives of the people.”
Vice-President Boakai explained to the hundreds of citizens of Cape Mount and Bomi Counties who gathered in Garwula, that contrary to other companies that are here to take resources out, Sime Darby is here to bring resources.
“In the investment sector you have the extractive industry, companies that will come, dig the wholes, companies that will come and cut the trees, Sime Darby is not that kind of company. This is a company that will put things down that you will see; even if they leave the things are going to be there. These are the kind of investment that benefits the people.
This is the reason why we ask for your cooperation. The land that God has given to us is of no use until something is done with. You have used the cutlass and the hoes for many-many years. But we know that we need something more than that.
This is why the legislators who are from this area, the superintendent, commissioners, all of us thought this was the need to create job opportunities here to bring about social benefits, schools, hospitals, for our people.” He said.