MONROVIA – The issue of granting incentives to Fouani Brothers Inc regarding an agreement for the development of a palm oil refinery, involving a $30 million long-term incentive agreement spanning 15 years, in compliance with Liberia’s revenue laws, is turning heads as the Liberian Senate recently weighed in on the the matter.
As part of the plan, the company is investing in an Argo Oil Production Plant in the Industrial Park.
The investment size is approximately USD30M.
The company hopes to buy crude palm oil (CPO) from local farmers and plantations in Liberia.
One of the key concerns is whether the company intends to farm themselves.
According to the agreement, the company has no intentions of doing so because they do not want to compete against farmers. Rather, they want to create a direct market for farmers in Liberia.
If at any point in time, they can not get up to 60% of the needed supply of CPO, they will work with the Ministry of Agriculture to remedy the situation with the affected group of farmers.
Also, give the government credit for improving the manufacturing sector and breaking the monopoly system that has existed over the years. We’ve seen the monopoly even in the cement sector that existed for over 60 years, being broken. Now, you have about 4 cement factories in Liberia.
The passage of the Fouani Investment Agreement is expected to boost farmers in that their labour will now directly be realised without having to suffer because of limited resources which could not allow them to export their products before getting money from same.
During a recent appearance before the Senate Committees on Judiciary and Concession, Mr. Molewuleh Gray, the Chairman of the National Investment Commission explained that the investment, once ratified by the Legislature, create 25 direct jobs and 50 indirect jobs.
Additionally, the agreement allows the investors to construct, use, improve, and maintain existing roads and transportation facilities in the project areas.
Initially, when the proposal was made, the investors requested to construct the facility at the Monrovia Industrial Park. As part of their social contribution, the agreement includes provisions for a health, safety, and environmental plan, which encompasses a modern public health center in the area where they operate.
In terms of education, the investor is obligated to provide training to Liberians to help them qualify for jobs related to the project. Moreover, the investor is required to pay the Ministry of Agriculture an annual direct support of US$75,000, which will be allocated towards training and the implementation of the Agro scheme.