PLEEBO, May 26 (LINA) – Members of Maryland County Legislative Caucus have expressed delight over the level of work done on a joint venture between two agriculture companies, Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) and Maryland Oil Palm Plantation (Golden-SIFCA) focusing on the planting and harvesting of palm plantations operating in the southeastern counties of Maryland, Sinoe, and Grand Kru.
The two oil giants combined investment plan yields a positive outcome, resulting in the acquisition and construction of a multi-million-dollar state-of-the-art Palm Processing Mill, which is nearing completion in Gbolobo, Pleebo-Sodoken District, Maryland County.
It can be recalled that Golden Veroleum Liberia and the Ivorian agro giant Industry Corporation (SIFCA), on January 9, 2019 jointly signed a US$34 million agreement with the Government of Liberia to construct one of the biggest oil factories in the region with a production of 80 metric tons per hour.
At a meeting held recently with members of the Maryland County Legislative Caucus under the Chairmanship of Rep. Isaac B. Roland at the Capitol Building in Monrovia, GVL executives disclosed that the factory construction works have reached optimal level and the collaborating companies, GVL and MOPP-SIFCA will commission the plant for full operations by mid-June this year.
Speaking on behalf of GVL during the meeting, two Senior managerial staff, Ferdy Surya Handojo, and Elvis G. Morris informed members of the Maryland County Legislative Caucus that the Golden-SIFCA Palm Mill will have the capacity to extract tons of palm oil from palm fruits, along with other usable products from the palm.
They added that operations of the mill will bring employment opportunities to more than 120 Liberians initially, most of whom will be local residents from surrounding communities situated in the company’s concession areas to work with some foreign technocrats.
The mill will have what the GVL officials referred to as 40/80 TPH capacity to process palm fruits for both the GVL and MOPP-SIFCA companies under an agreed management framework signed between the two companies.
The Mill is expected to add value to palm products that may be subsequently shipped to other markets of the world, thus positively adding to Liberia’s export earnings and foreign exchange for more economic viability.
Meanwhile, the Maryland Legislative Caucus has welcomed the completion of the Palm Mill, describing the initiative as a success story.
The Caucus has, however. frowned on the companies’ reneging on some parts of their concession agreements, specifically about Liberians given the opportunity to serve at managerial levels in the companies, but so far the companies have done very little.
The Caucus said it believes that such development was one of the several reasons it cited GVL-Liberia, MOPP-SIFCA, along with other companies operating in that part of the county to its Capitol Building facilities in Monrovia for explanation and to find amicable ways in meeting all the compliance issues detected by the legislature.
Maryland Caucus Chairman Rep. Isaac Roland told the gathering that the Caucus takes seriously the breaches of the concession agreement by companies operating in the county.
Rep. Roland said the Caucus is appalled over the reluctance of companies to adhere to their social corporate responsibilities, adding that up to now, companies in the county are still hiring foreign nationals for jobs that Liberians should occupy in line with their concession agreements.
For his part, House Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers said he is dissatisfied over plans by the Golden-SIFCA to hire an Ivorian-based general manager for the Palm Mill, which he believes is contrary to their agreement.
Speaker Chambers added that he, along with the Caucus, detests such a decision for it runs contrary to the terms of the concession agreement.
The Maryland County lawmaker pointed out the he sees such intention by the companies involved as counterproductive, and nowhere in the world can he imagine that such happens.
Other members of the Maryland County Legislative Caucus who attended the meeting were, Sen. Gbleh-bo Brown, Sen. James P. Biney, and Rep. P. Mark Jury, Secretary of the Caucus.
In line with the framework, the Golden-SIFCA project will deliver developmental activities in the host communities, including the construction, use, improvement and maintenance of roads, bridges and other transportation facilities.
Others are the provision of modern health facilities, free primary and secondary education, among others.