Citizens Urge Government To Uphold Moratorium On Oil Blocks

Chart of Oil Block in Liberia
Chart of Oil Block in Liberia

Liberians in the 15 political sub-divisions of the country have emphasized the need for government to uphold the current moratorium it placed on Oil blocks LB1-5.
The citizens also want the government to suspend ongoing negotiations on the award of Oil blocks LB-6 and LB-7 with the Chinese company Tong Tai to ensure that the right measures are in place before the award of the blocks.
 According to the Liberia News Agency (LINA), the citizens’ comments were contained in the final report of the National Legislature on the recent nationwide public engagements on the Draft Law Petroleum Exploration and Production Act 2013.
 In the report, the citizens also proposed that a moratorium be placed on Oil blocks LB-6 and LB-7 currently under negotiation.
Commenting on the area of Institutional Arrangement in the Draft Act, the citizens stressed the need to either reduce the number of regulatory and policy-making agencies as enshrined in the draft Act or expand or reduce the powers of existing ones.
 According to the document, the citizens noted that creating a Ministry of Petroleum and Petroleum Directorate would mean creating more institutions, adding that such would constitute a burden to the state.
 Concerning safety, health and environment, participants of the nationwide public engagements recommended that compensation be made for damage to marine life, while portion of the oil revenue be set aside for affected communities. 
 On the aspect of offenses, the citizens recommended the inclusion of penalties for bribery committed during the award and implementation of petroleum contracts.
 They also recommended maximum punishment of death or life imprisonment for individuals found guilty of diverting revenues to be generated from the Oil Sector to their personal use.

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Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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