The Inquirer (Monrovia)

19 September 2006

Liberians to Lose Percentage On Forest Resources?

Liberians are apt to lose the forty percent of the National Forestry Reform Law of 2006 exclusively reserved for them on all established commercial forestry areas.

According to a release issued by Mr. Oscar Cooper, Chief Executive Officer of the Inland Logging Corporation, the House and the Senate are being coerced by the International Community through the United Nations to change the newly passed "National Forestry Reform Law of 2006".

The Law gives a long term protection to the Liberian Heritage by reserving 40% of all established commercial forestry areas exclusively to Liberians, whether utilized or not.

The release said that the international communities are adamant that the 40% allocated to Liberians and future generations be removed from law and that a previous bill submitted with their interest opening the entire commercial forestry areas to foreign investors alike.

"This act, we fear will disenfranchise Liberian-owned companies that do not have the pecuniary potency to compete after the insurmountable losses incurred during the war. An influx of foreign investors in the forestry sector would undoubtedly dominate the bidding process for forestry acquisition," the release said.

Mr. Cooper said that this open-door policy would unquestionably invite companies like the O.T.C. to acquire vast forest tracts and extensively deplete their National Reserves.

He stated that the position of the International Community greatly deviated from the rationale as to why the sanctions were originally imposed on Liberia and in what aspect and roles were being played to determine which laws were beneficial to Liberians by the interpretation of the Liberianization policy as to whether the laws enacted, quote, "are investors friendly even to the detriment of Liberians?" "The House and the Senate are in a state of perplexed dilemma as to why the United Nations would continue to impose sanctions on Liberia," the release said.

Mr. Cooper said that the lawmakers were elected and placed in positions of trust by the people to protect their interest and not to be influenced by outside parties whose interest are not those of the Liberian people.

"The House, the Senate, the Executive and the Judiciary's first and foremost functions, obligations and loyalty, are for the Liberian people," the release concluded.

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