WESTNAF Liberia signs 15-year Logging Agreement with Locals In Maryland – Latest Liberian News
KARLOKEN, Maryland County – WESTNAF Group of Companies has signed a 15-year Logging Contract agreement with the Karluway District#1 Community Forest Management Body (CFMB) in Maryland County.
The signing ceremony which was held in Karloken city, Karluway District on Saturday was graced by the county superintendent George Andrew Prowd, Representatives from the offices of District#3 Representative Isaac Roland Blalu, Senator J. Gbleh-Bo Brown, Management of WESTNAF group of Companies, Local authorities of Karluway District, youths and women groups, among others who have gone to witness the occasion at the auditorium of the Karloken High School.
Residents of the district lauded the local authorities and the management of WESTNAF group of companies and provided kola nuts as the community’s traditional way of approving the 15-year agreement.
Following the kola ceremony, Ms. Georgia Owen, Manager of the WESTNAF group of companies disclosed that the 15-year logging contractual agreement has numerous benefits for Marylanders especially residents of Karluway District.
After the kola ceremony, Ms. Georgia Owen, Manager of the WESTNAF group of companies disclosed that the 15-year logging contract agreement has numerous benefits for Marylanders especially residents of Karluway District.
Manager Owen noted that within the first five years of the contractual agreement, the company will provide 15 hand pumps for affected communities, rehabilitate roads connecting Gba-wanken to Gbe-ken, Konoso to Pomuken, Gbalaken to Wlopluken and Wutuken to pougbaken and Wutuken to Tayetowayso. These towns and villages are hardly accessible by car, making transportation for residents very difficult. Only motorbike is plies most of these routes, and transportation fees are to high and not affordable by the locals. As the result, most of them walk on long distances to get to the health facilities or the market to buy goods and sell local farm products.
She maintained that the company will pay US$2 per cubic meter of wood and provide US$5,500 for human resource development annually.
The company will also provide US$40.000 for middle management jobs for residence including the construction of clinic, construction of a wood mill or sawmill for job opportunities.
Speaking to a team of reporters after the signing ceremony, Ms. Owen told a team of reporters that her company will stand by the agreement and will do all in its powers to upgrade the livelihood of residents within Karluway and Maryland County at-large.
“Let me say to you people today, we are happy following the signing of this contract because our company will stand by this agreement in doing everything possible to improve the living conditions of residents within Karluway and Maryland County at-large” she said.
For his part, Maryland County Superintendent Prowd called on residents of Karluway district to cooperate with the company for its smooth operations in the district.
He stressed that the primary objective of the county authorities is to work in the interest of all citizens.
“I want us to consider them and work with them as a team to see our county developed,’ he said.
On February 17, 2023, the resident refused to sign the agreement with WESTNAF Liberia, citing lack of adequate awareness.
Liberia is home to the largest portion of the remaining forest in West Africa. The National Forest Reform Law divides the forest in three segments, one for commercial logging supervised by the Government of Liberia through the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), another for community that will be co-managed by the community and the FDA and the last portion for conservation purposes.
Liberia is home to the largest portion of the remaining forest in West Africa. The National Forest Reform Law divides the forest in three segments, one for commercial logging supervised by the Government of Liberia through the Forestry Development Auhtority (FDA), another for community that will be co-managed by the community and the FDA and the last portion for conservation purposes.
While communities across Liberia are now managing their forest, majority have complained that logging companies operating in their areas are not living up to the agreements, and the Government through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning is not remitting the fees paid by some of these companies for the affected communities.
With the signing of the agreement, citizens of Karluway District have expressed hope that the company will live up to the agreement to improve their living condition.
By: Peter P. Toe, Jr.