According to GVL Communications Coordinator, Leroy Kanmoh, these payments are in accordance with Articles 19.7 (a) & (b) of the GVL Concession Agreement. These provisions require that GVL must pay into a dedicated Community Development Fund account for each eligible project community US$5 per hectare per year of the community’s land which is planted with oil palm. Each eligible community has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GVL which gives GVL the right to grow oil palm on community land for the duration of the Concession Agreement.
Mr. Kanmoh disclosed that GVL has signed CDF charters with each of these six communities. In accordance with the Concession Agreement, GVL has worked with each community to establish a committee comprising of 10 members drawn from the community, GVL and the Government of Liberia. These committees are set up to ensure effective and transparent management of the CDF funds so that the local communities may develop and manage their own social infrastructure development projects. These may include schools, clinics, hand pumps and other projects that are in addition to those undertaken by GVL as agreed in the MOUs.
In Grand Kru, GVL has contributed US$7,175 to the Zoloken community’s account, US$2,619.05 to Nemiah’s and US$1,884.25 to Piddy/Nyanbo. In Sinoe, US$50,144.80 has been credited to the Butaw account, US$23,343.70 to Tarjuowon and US$4,801.10 for Numopoh. For Butaw, these include payments for land planted with oil palm since 2011; for most other communities, payments cover land planted mostly from 2014/15.
Ofori Lartey, GVL General Manager for Sustainability in Grand Kru, said Golden Veroleum Liberia is working with other communities to set up similar CDF accounts. In Grand Kru, these include Weteken/Garraway Beach in Garraway district, Sorroken/Wutuken in Trembo, Gbanken/Ylatwen/Beloken in Wedabo and Big Town/Middle Town/Waterside in Po-River. Similar accounts will be set up for MOU communities in Sinoe covering Du-Wolee Nyennue, Tartweh and Nitrain.
In addition, Kanmoh revealed that the company has rehabilitated 5 schools in Grand Kru, constructed 2 schools in Sinoe and provided educational support to several schools in Sinoe. GVL supports community clinics in both counties through the provision of drugs, support for clinic staff and other contributions.
Golden Veroleum Liberia is the largest private sector employer in the Liberian southeast. It employs over 3,700 workers, most from local communities, and plans to increase this number in line with the land partner communities make available for oil palm development. It contributes at least US$5.7 million directly into the local economies of Sinoe and Grand Kru in salaries alone.