Monrovia — Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), now operating in Sinoe County has disclosed that it is preparing to hire 40,000 once it resumes operations in Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties.
"We have about 1800-1900 employees presently in Butaw, Sinoe County and if we split our future goal of 40,000 employees between Sinoe and Grand Kru, we are talking about 20,000 employees per county", says Vigil Magee, Head of Communication.
"GVL is not merely an oil palm company because the investment that we are willing to put into the Liberian economy, is about 1.6 billon dollars that will translate into direct and indirect benefits for Liberian citizen."
The oil palm company, which was instructed to stop its operations over eight months ago by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) based on complaints of injustice filed by citizens of Sinoe through their legal representative Cllr. Alfred Brownell of Green Advocate, has reconciled and promised to work with the affected communities in Sinoe County.
Cllr. Brownell of Green Advocate and Deputy Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf, in a meeting with Butaw citizens, promised to inform RSPO of the progress made so far in order to have the company to commence operations.
Recently, in an interview with reporters at his Sinkor office, Mr. Magee explained that direct benefits mean - when people are employed, people are receiving education and people are receiving housing and medical benefits. And indirect benefits mean - people employed, are able to better provide for their families, and better help the Liberian economy, particularly in rural communities.
Addressing the issue of 500 employees who were dismissed from the company few months ago, Mr. Magee said GVL like any other company doing business would do the same, when the company's operations are ceased.
"The five hundred employees were on GVL payroll until we absolutely had to let them go for the viability of the company. They were kept on the payroll for five months and after, they were let go. They received other generous compensation package," Magee disclosed.
The compensations went up to one and a half month extra pay, so we are talking about nearly seven months of pay, that each of the workers received for little or no work when our operation slow down." He said they have nurseries in Grand Kru as well, but as to whether they have planted anything in Grand Kru, the answer was No.
"For us, it depends on whether communities invite us and offer us land to plant, then we will go and work, but if the community does not invite us, we are not allowed to go further. And this is not only in Grand Kru, but wherever we are to work," he said.
He said sixty-Five years concession agreement is huge and when put into context, it is sixty-five years of employment for mothers, fathers, children and grand children. And GVL investment in the county and the people is not short term.
"We are not a company that is here for few months and then we pack up and go but we are here as the communities invite us in and the benefits we offer is very long term," he noted.
Magee said the Social Corporate Responsibility includes the school that was just completed by the company and GVL hopes to incorporate it into the school system, so that the kindergarten and elementary school will grow into high school, for more students to enroll.
"The science students in Butaw that are with their families receive healthcare from the clinic and there are project within the communities we provide," he said.
"Our community oil palm project is one, in which oil palm for the communities will be planted first before our trees are planted."
On housing, he concluded that whatever damage GVL has caused, it is obligated to fix and the Fifty duplexes that is one hundred apartments in total are on first preference basis that are given to workers who started with the company from the beginning of their operations in the country.
But it is up to them live on the compound or in the town of Butaw. And they are constructing more housing complexes as their target is getting 20,000 employees in Sinoe County.