Home Economy 25-Year Agreement Faces Handle In Bong: China Union ‘Under Fire’ …As Aggrieved Citizens Demand Appraisal of Pact With Govt.

25-Year Agreement Faces Handle In Bong: China Union ‘Under Fire’ …As Aggrieved Citizens Demand Appraisal of Pact With Govt.

by newsmanager

BONG MINES: A 25-year Agreement involving the Government of Liberia and China Union, a Hong-Kong-based Mining Investment Company, appears to be faced with serious handles as citizens of Bong County are demanding review of the mineral exploration pact.

On January 19, 2009, China-Union and the Liberian Government inked almost 25 years mineral Development Agreement for China Union to take over the huge iron ore deposit in the former Bong Mining Company (BMC) Concession in Bong Mines in Fuama District, Bong County.

The area is one of the country’s largest iron ore mining communities with several mineral mines including the Zawea Mountain.

Accordingly, the Agreement between the Liberian government and China Union is subject to revision after every 10 years.

Reports say the China Union has done little or nothing in the area as the Concession of the former BMC has been abandoned while provision of basic social services for residents and workers are poor.

Some residents who spoke to this also indicated that since China Union signed the agreement with the government, it is only interested in shipping the old iron ores which had been left behind by the former BMC, and that Chinana Union has also relocated its operations near the Gbe-mu, Bong Mines Handee in Fiamuah District.

However, due to apparent poor performance of China Union, the leadership and members of Bong University Students Association (BUSA), University of Liberia chapter, joined forces with citizens of Bong County including members of the County’s Legislators, as they called for a thorough review of the mining concession’s operations in Fuamah District#7 and other mining areas in the county.

The call of the students reinforced previous positions of Bong County Lawmakers, Foday E. Fahnbulleh and Eugene Kollie.

Lawmakers Fahnbulleh and Kollie represent Bong Districts #5 and #7 respectively.

The President of Bong University Students Association- University of Liberia chapter, Idrisa Kaba, said since the agreement came into effect, China Union has failed to live up to the commitment of some clauses within the agreement specifically sections 8, and 9, 10, and 11, 12, 13.

He added that company has yet to address other essential priorities of the citizens as contained in said agreement.

The citizens characterized such failure on the part of China Union as a wanton disregard of said agreement, thus triggering consistent protests and agitations in the concession areas by residents of the areas including manual laborers, and contractors working in those mining areas.

The BUSA-UL President said this is unfavorable and runs contrary to the expectations of Bong County citizens.

According to Mr. Kaba, the intent of said agreement between the Government of Liberia and the concessionaire party is to empower the labor force, improve the living conditions of the people, and build a potential youthful generation who are willing to academically upgrade themselves.

The lack of these priorities can somehow be attributed to the recent unfortunate and tragic tanker explosion incident in Totota which borders the mining region where most residents are unemployed and vulnerable to hunger.

The Bong County Student leader said the agreement as mentioned in those sections entails, “providing General education funding to residents through annual scholarships and payment to the University of Liberia to support the field of geology, build infrastructure- roads, hospitals, clinics, schools, among others.

He also named employment of Liberian nationals in top managerial positions, the stimulation of the domestic economy by giving preference to locally made goods and services, something he said, the company has failed to live up to.

In another development, he explained that Bong County has been awash by destitution, corruption, and misappropriation of state budgetary allotments that aim to provide and strengthen accessible healthcare services, and improved agricultural and education sectors.

He disclosed that the Gbodoi clinic which is situated between Districts 5&6 in Bong County was captured under the Fiscal Year and received mouthwatering budgetary allotment for its efficient management and operations.

Interestingly, the clinic has no resemblance to a medical facility as the structure doesn’t have an operational history.

Student Kaba said, it is an act of cruelty as the citizens are dying almost daily from minor and curable diseases.

He further stressed the lack of subsidies for large-scale agriculture production to sustain and minimize hunger as stipulated in the Sustainable Development Goals(SDG).

Additionally, the BUSA-UL President said the delay in the accreditation of the Nursing Department and the consistent disruption and prolonged academic activities of the Bong County Technical College (BCTC) have led many of the students to transfer to other colleges and universities to pursue tertiary education.

Notwithstanding, the Bong County Student leader called on the County Administration to place premium on the county’s only “Public Tertiary Institution” as it serves as the only hope and environment that equalizes the educational disparity between the masses and those elites who can afford to sponsor their children to private colleges or universities at home and abroad.

BUSA, therefore demands comprehensive audits of all government entities in Bong County.

China Union could not be immediately reached for its reaction to the Bong citizens ‘call for review of its 25-year mineral agreement with the GOL. Contributed by Stephen Tokpah in Bong

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