Liberia's Oil Boom - Telltale or Success Story?
I had since spent a very good span of time across my study desk pondering and nudging my head almost in empty gaze of what presumably, have been an alarming catchy political order; drawing currency from potentially continuous visibility studies, willingness and competitive investment climate, professional career sector economy and scientific technological advances in energy resource Liberia.
This scaring long venture syndrome of Oil exploration in Liberia is grisly becoming a nerve shaking future potential conflict, if measures are not carefully put in place amidst the questing desire of international partners and local stakeholders digging beneath every inch of the way, disproportionate vested interest considerate of bilateral corporation and economic integration.
However, Liberia a sufferer and enmeshed post-conflict country has nothing less to reckon with, but a DNA- stain on its cocktail coat, if sure would address a few. The first conflicting problem is a half way mark informed citizenry which has come off the deep end, pretending to understand the critical dictates of the new Sector boom. I think not. Most of these constituent bodies, district and county, which have formed representation in the National Legislature is lax of the essentialities, which ought to be the reflection of these ensuring debates. So the reasons for which we want to divide ourselves is next than far. No sober population that still rest behind the real lenses of oil drilling will boast anyhow of same.
A country that lags within the reach of sovereignty and age can only wait at the engagement ceremony of privileges and opportunities, which when provided offer a chance to the enlighten few. While it is true and we hope that this will not be another wealth-seeking party but those who are involved will take strength in managing the after effects of oil drilling, as already experienced by countries, we yet to learn from.
This is a fight within which, each has a say. Counting back on these dissembling contrasting views have bought its way anew in the beauty of the management of our political economy, thus, providing leeway for an independent, democratic free state. Collectively, much has been done in the face of willingness and justice not in altercation to those reasons why we never differ, but expectedly to those qualities that have resulted, thenceforth.
However, we are hasten to agree that with a transitioning from our bitter past to the dawning of a new day in our nation’s history, we can sure say that the sum total effect of the political variability have not come as an accidental plea from the fact of non participation but a wholesome functioning democracy. In this, social challenges remain high. Public Sector Management is gradually taking foothold. Porous borders, crossing and shifting movements in population leading to the intensification of wetlands and threat. Poverty reduction and increase in income levels remain an urgent concern. Socially marginalized groups (Albino Society, Group of 77, Christian Association of the Blind, HIV infected population, etc…) are still in need of a result-oriented response, as much has to be done in Sector performances showing adequacy in developmental drives. This is my contentment. This is the moment with which I want to catch a breath. All about this presumptive foul cry and misgivings about the Oil Sector has again provided grounds for dissensions across the sphere of society.
Naked opportunistic and grass root politicking has so spanned this venture, which I think is crude and wrong, given that a significant range of issues need to be addressed. For example, have we as a people really established in principle a local content of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) than keeping pace with the delicate nature of its inaugural report. Quite interestingly, we have not come to rest with any argument in a state of flux, but will know that shallow frontiers for many of the world’s fast depleting resources are battle tested terrains in a pinching grasp to protect the certainty of surviving communal livelihoods, individual societies and states. This meddling position engrafted in high profile power pronged institutions (WB, IMF, etc..) and power vested military societies (US, Russia, China and Britain) have made a chance with shared interest driven responsibilities across Africa; the natural market and treasure storehouse in overtures to Western democracy.
This is the gap that we must come collectively to bridge. Alternatively, we must with open mind not wanting to shove far down our sleeves that which is unintended. An acceptable cultural pattern must squarely fit any circumstances which may involve. We must gauge a mental framework approach to this Sector boom and not splashing damning accusations on collective guilt tendencies. It also cannot be overemphasized that Madam Sirleaf set a foot a million mile journey beginning with her resolve and the state that leads to rebirth came up from an inherited failed system. This respect and sundry must be accorded, not later but now.
China in every respect, her abiding interest in bilateral cooperation, is now stepping into the way of Africa’s vastly depleting economic resources. For example, 3.6b hectares, 70 percent of all the world’s dry land an area larger than Europe are affected by massive human actions (mining, grazing, logging, Agriculture, etc) leaving behind huge tracts of land exposed to desertification. The year 2011 saw the total consumption level of coal at 2.3b metric tons leaving coal in China, as the last remaining exhaustible resource. Alternatively, energy resource ( Biofuels, solar, Wind, etc) still remain in short sight. Russia strategic interest in the Sahel (Uranium-rich Niger), underbidding a Chinese finish eight-kilometer long earth dyke dam, points to the even aware of these interest- pronged power sovereign nations desirous of dominating the world financially and politically. These by all account have come in stark questioning of Africa’s place among developed nations. The in questing resolve, with which the rest of the world sees Africa, is one to ponder, like former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, “ Africa is a scar on the conscience of the world”. Human trafficking, ethnic cleansing, religious violence, famine, terrorism, piracy, and diseases have cut short Africa’s sovereign demand to mange well its resources.
Not looking seriously afraid of these shocks and tending to muzzle each other in the name of oil, speaks right to the fact of a nation seemingly drown. The ailing memories of the biting Civil conflict is sufficient long last our differences. We also hold for a fact that the then thirteen decades governing power hegemony sought nothing less but enclosed bicameral legislature. Overpowering dwarfed legislative policies in state governance ensued in lax of broader participation. An over centralized bureaucratized state run society placed a hinge about alarming disturbances, progressive people’s actions, Coup d’ tat and earth shaken periods of guerrilla crisis, etc.
Then if justice must lend itself all truths, “the salt with which good governance is eaten” then those prevailing conditions, indeed, were rife and cannot make mends of any profile administration.
Rob Sirleaf vs. Presidential Nomination
We must first of all understand that the soul and strength of the Liberian constitution for which evolving state actions and tendencies incur rest within the exercisable will of the Executive component branch of government. If such condition is an acceptable fact, then, we all outside of bare politics must countenance the need to lend reasons to which things happen sometimes the way they happened.
Agreed that an African Woman President, Dr. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, whose forty years strand in the fight for social transformation and democratic governance in a depraved governance structure strived to bring minimum efforts to bear upon, then state actors not without the cause of strange happenings, but depicting conditions necessary and sound.
I say ‘fight’ here because state actors on the basis of almost any policy platform became owners of the wealth basket. There had since been almost ant return from the clench fist of power. Notably so, and the Liberian Law being our guide one can boast to say that there is an excessive use of power here because the President, in the faith and spirit of the Liberian constitution, has violated no law. There is almost no contrasting provision, which this President has gone against, appointing her Son, Mr. Robert Sirleaf to the post of the National Oil Company of Liberia. The constitution, in the clear sense of the world has reasonably concluded on the intent of “appointment power”. So, why quarrel here.
A much more justified reason for such public portfolio must come face to face with proven academic track records and long time experience within the financial stock market. An adept free market corporate negotiator adjusting moderate disparities in the product capital market. This purifying operation of presidential preferment has given courage to society returning to its true moorings. Rob Sirleaf’s credentials are noteworthy for which these debates ensued and could further provide the space for lending opportunities to a broader whole sector feeling the need this competitive venture.
I agree to some extent that there are natural tendencies on the part of companies, concessions to beat back the chances of narrowing tax rates. Taxes get better outlook, when a comparative market forecast is made to the advantage of its current dollar value necessarily in question to risk that could incur by investors. However, an appreciated tax regime has been of interest in the recent start to this sector. Medium to long term precautionary environmental principles must be set in place to mitigate the shocks that could underlie; where there are threats and irreversible damage. Although 36% of pollution is caused by America and Northern countries, there is still a need to conduct an inventory identifying the value of our crop species. A critical ecosystem protection fund must be drawn up to cut back on emission levels (Reforestation).
An integrity management program and exploratory research and testing must be cultured in the development of mature oil and gas rigs. We must also not seek to flatten the price of oil and net financial flow of stocks on the international parallel markets, as a result of shading of interest across the divide leaving behind divisive politics on Capitol Hill. Let us first buy reasoning from the fact that the competing chances of global economic development cannot be one experienced in the 70s. you will understand that many countries had not gain freedom, even coming up to the 70s, struggle for independence on the continent and the cold world politics saw many undecided in the conflict theory of Bipolarity. So, the issue of any one stop shop propaganda on the oil sector is a misstatement. Be it as may, Liberia’s secret heritage must be protected than fly in the face of elements of low estate. We must de-toxify this bad blood. No amount of double hard ball politics on the oil sector can do the trick. We must go beyond striving ever harder to convince the world that those reform measures set in place, conditioned on our willingness and responsibility to adopt and act within the confines are surer ways of a doing business environment.
It is understandable that there are those who endeavor to clean some of their loot and ill-gotten wealth in this sector, but to confront at every length each step of the way is arduous and must be counterchecked. This is my qualm.
We are not interested in these political back scratching. It must be understood that the Legislature has no mandate, to re-negotiate all the 10 existing production sharing contracts (PSCs). It is only the President that has the mandate to do so and can decide. The first thing is we do not know if the value content of such offshore oil has reached a commercial potential and do not have much to bargain with. For example, Chevron and Arnadako, which are a few of the world’s best exploratory Companies-spent over US$1m per day in risk assessment. Liberia still a potential conflict zone points to investors’ confidence and their money could be lost in the venture.
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