18 January 2013

Liberia: Errors in Oil Deals - Speaker Tyler

Speaker Alex Tyler has admitted that the House of Representatives blundered in the ratification of some of the concession agreements, especially oil contracts due to the lack of information.

Addressing a regular press briefing at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism on Capitol Hill Thursday, Speaker Tyler said during the passage of some of the contracts in the 52nd Legislature, members of the House did not have access to previous bills that were passed into law, and based on lack of information, they took decisions, which today, members of the 53rd Liberian Legislature are strongly considering to revisit in order to suit current realities.

The Bomi County lawmaker said during the passage of the oil contracts, the House made errors such as government's share in the oil deal; Liberian participation in the buying of oil blocks and appropriate portion of royalties that should be taken by the government based on law.

"We did not capture those strategic areas in those oil concessions and now we feel there should be renegotiation of those existing contracts or else, Liberia will [not] benefit economically from the natural oil gift from the Almighty", he said.

Following the passage of those contracts he continued, members of the House later discovered the 2002 Liberian Petroleum Law, which the House is now using as a legal reliance for the pending review exercise.

Speaker Tyler, who won on the ticket of the ruling Unity Party, noted that the Liberian Legislature is determined to lead the reform process of the Oil and Gas sector in order to ensure that the functions of the National Oil Company are diversified.

He disclosed that the plenary of the House of Representatives has established an Ad-Hoc Committee on the sector, which is visiting oil producing countries to learn better approaches in making the resource a blessing for the country.

Speaker Tyler, accompanied by his colleagues Richmond Anderson , Chairman on Information and Broadcasting and George Blamo, Chairman on Executive, called on government ministries and agencies to respect laws that require the submission of quarterly reports to the legislature. The Speaker recounted that during the period under review, the House enacted 25 bills, and that there are 50 more in committee room.

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