Labor Minister Varbah Gayflor has warned that depending on how Liberia's recently discovered oil is managed, it could be a source of conflict in the country.
She sounded the warning Saturday, August 4, 2012, when she spoke at program organized by the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), marking the launch of the Nationwide Consultation on the country's Draft Petroleum Policy, at the Monrovia City Hall.
Labor Minister Gayflor, who indicated that the people of Liberia do not want oil to be a curse to the nation, rather a blessing, further stated: "We are not saying that oil is going to be the source of conflict, but depending on how we manage the process, it could be."
She added: "We've just come from years of civil conflict, trying to put back together the broken pieces of our lives; the worst that would happen is for the discovery of a natural resource (oil) to be the cause of another conflict that will take us many years back."
The Labor Minister, who fell short of stating exactly how the process of the discovery of oil in the country should be managed, used the occasion to call on Liberians especially the country's youthful population to get engaged with the nationwide consultation on the Draft petroleum Policy.
She pleaded with Liberians not to be confrontational during the consultative process of the Draft Petroleum Policy, adding that: "Let's not be confrontational, let's find a reason to dialogue, and let's see how we can move ahead in a very constructive way."
Meanwhile, the Nationwide Consultation on the Draft Petroleum Policy is expected to be completed by the close of August 2012, with six teams from NOCAL spread across the length and breadth of the country to explain the nine thematic areas contained in the draft policy for the input of every citizen of Liberia.
The thematic areas contained in the Draft Petroleum Policy include: Resource ownership and maritime boundary, Legal framework and institutional oversight, and State participation and fiscal regime.
Others are: Revenue management and state-NOC financial and tax, Transparency and accountability and Arrangements, safety, health, environment and social impact. The rest are: Licensing and contracting, Work programs and operations and Local content.
Following the consultation, the six consultation teams of NOCAL will return to Monrovia with all the recorded discussions held with citizens, including the citizens' responses and inputs, which will be written into a report submitted to the Hydrocarbon Technical Committee (HTC), that will review said report, make