Golden Veroleum Liberia has donated drums of crude palm oil to the company’s host communities, which followed the dedication on 19 April of a mini mill in Tarjuowon District in Sinoe County.Six large drums of fresh palm oil were distributed in Tarjuowon District to Butaw, Numopoh, Tartweh, Nitrain, Du Wolie Nyennue and Sorbor in Dugbe River. Presenting the oil to the communities, GVL General Manager for sustainability Mr. Flomo Molubah said GVL respects the rights, traditions and culture of local communities. He said this is the first step to GVL meeting its aspirations to producing high quality palm oil from Sinoe and Grand Kru for use and sale locally and for export. He later thanked the communities for the support.Mr. Molubah urged the communities to invite all members of the communities to sample the oil. He said, “Although it is not much to share at the moment, it gives all community members an opportunity to share GVL’s joy by tasting our first production.” The oil comes from the fruits of palm trees planted in Butaw District and Numopoh. A special service was held in Butaw before the mill was dedicated.For his part, the superintendent of Tarjuowon Statutory District, Paul Chea, lauded the management of Golden Veroleum for its commitment and for remembering the people of Tarjuowon. He said GVL has proven to be a true partner by distributing the first oil produced from its mill among its host communities. “GVL has proven to be committed to us. By distributing the first oil from the mill, GVL is showing that it really loves us and we believe that more will come.”Chea said the presence of GVL has brought a significant change to his district, and Sinoe at large. He named the construction and rehabilitation of roads, bridges, hand pumps and schools as some of the social benefits communities are getting from GVL. He said the rehabilitation, opening of new roads/construction of roads, will improve the flow of goods and services to and from the county capital Greenville and other surrounding communities. He said, “Before GVL, we had decades of inaccessibility for residents and commuters due to road damage caused by heavy downpours in the rainy season. Now we have much more reliable road links.” Speaking on behalf of Du- Wolie Township, Commissioner Ramsey Snoh thanked GVL Management for the recognition of their community. He said, “GVL is yet to move in our Township, but the fact that the company has recognized the people of Du Wolie and Nyennue means that the company is committed to working with its host communities and improving their livelihood.” He pledged that he will distribute the oil equally among members of the community. He urged the citizens of Du – Wolie – Nyennue to act fast in signing the MOU that will bring more development and employment to the community. “We need to act very fast to sign this MOU so that more development and employment will come to our people. Your palm oil is good and we want it to be planted here as well,” he concluded. Golden Veroleum Liberia commissioned its first mini mill in Sinoe in April 2016 with an operating capacity of 5 tons per hour. The company plans to complete its main mill construction in the first half of 2017, with an eventual capacity of 80 tons per hour. The projects are fulfilling GVL’s commitment to bringing major investments in factories and industries to the Liberian Southeast. When completed, the main mill will bring additional employment for at least 150 Liberian staff and professionals, a press release said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Sovereign Wealth FundChartered Accountant Christopher Ram has raised concerns over Finance Minister Winston Jordan’s position as a spender and saver of Guyana’s wealth. He noted that under the previous administration, the very matter would have drawn the attention of the then serving Opposition.Ram raised his concerns at an Energy Forum held last week at Duke Lodge. He said, “I wonder whether they (the Government) would have liked the same mechanism that they are setting out here if another Government — let’s not call the name of that other Government — if another Government was in place? Would we want a situation where a minister who is responsible for spending is also the minister responsible for saving and generating revenue and protecting those revenues?”The accountant said he is confident the administration would have rebutted this, thus he questioned the Government’s recommendation to have Jordan spearhead the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).In a subsequent interview with this publication on Monday, Ram sought to point out the need for transparency in handling of the Sovereign Wealth Fund. He recommended the SWF be entirely isolated from the “spending ministry,” as it could have an impact on everyone.Ram also pointed to the need for an article to be “entrenched” in the Constitution so that no one, including Ministers, would be able to unilaterally access funds in the SWF, as he described it as a generational fund for the future.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had earlier this year made a similar comment on the issue at one of his weekly press conferences.“I have said before that there should be no ministerial involvement in the Petroleum Commission; that the remaining oil blocks should be subject to a competitive auction or kept for future generations; and that we should complete the work on the Local Content framework. There have been no substantive moves in any of these directions. As I have said before, there is no clear management framework for the oil and gas sector,” Jagdeo had said.The Opposition Leader noted that on multiple occasions he has “urged that Government take cognisance of the Santiago Principles and a model similar to the principles on which the Norwegian model was developed. Establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund is only one element of a management framework for the oil and gas sector.Jagdeo has made it clear that, for various reasons, he disagrees with the Finance Minister being given control over the SWF. He zeroed in on Jordan’s silence on the signing bonus Government had received from the oil company.Meanwhile, the document sets out specific rules, including the Fiscal Rule, which caters for the development gaps that exist both in terms of human capital and physical infrastructure, and the need to accommodate development spending via the National Budget.To oversee these decisions, the Government has recommended the establishment of a Macroeconomic Committee which would consist of five members, including a representative of the Finance Minister.In terms of management of the SWF, a Sovereign Investment Committee would be responsible for advising the minister on the suitability of any investment being contemplated. A representative of the Finance Minister would also be on that committee.Further, the Green Paper states that the Bank of Guyana (BoG) will be the operational manager of the Fund. The Opposition Leader has already expressed deep concern about this proposal.Although the Government has catered for a representative from the Opposition to sit on the SWF committee, Jagdeo has already objected to this proposal, stating that politicians should not be included.A SWF is a state-owned investment fund that is made up of surpluses from official foreign currency operations, proceeds of privatisations, governmental transfer payments, fiscal surpluses and/or receipts resulting from resource exports.It has been articulated as an important mechanism for the oil and gas sector, and with ExxonMobil announcing that production would start in 2020, calls have been made by stakeholders and the political opposition for establishment of Guyana’s SWF to be swift.Guyana’s SWF Bill was drafted by the Commonwealth Secretariat with input from the Government, and was presented to the subject minister in December 2016.