3 January 2013

Liberia: Capacity Building Is Crucial the Oil Industry

A Liberian environmental economist working for NOCAL, Urias Goll, says public policy to begin oil exploration in Liberia is an old dream that had been stifled by shortsighted politicians and public service managers.

He said government conceived the dream in the mid-1940s but successive administrations failed to bring it to fruition because successive law- and policy-makers considered long-term approach to capacity development an unnecessary drain on the economy.

This, he said, was despite the fact that there was not a single example globally to show that a nation can successfully exploit its natural resources without building the capacity of its citizens for sustainable operations.

“Globally, countries establish, as top priority, training and development of its citizens for new sectors. Some states even roll out a robust training program for the citizens far before they (states) make decision about exploring such sector. This allows these countries to house the necessary capacities and capabilities in-country. Paying for expatriate (which will definitely be needed from the beginning) can cause a massive blow to the revenue generation ability of the country and its citizens. Therefore, as a more salient approach, preparing its own citizens remains top on the country agenda,” Goll said.

He made the observations in an article titled, “Preparing a Generation to Efficiently Manage Liberia’s Oil and Gas Sector,” which he released to the media yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Liberian economist has praised the modest, but significant collaboration between the Executive Mansion and NOCAL on one hand and the US-based oil giant, Chevron, on the other.

“Chevron acted, NOCAL has responded, the President of Liberia is committed and the secondees are being trained,” he said.

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