Liberia: Rep. Thomas Goshua Wants Expatriates Leave Equatorial Palm Oil; Says There are Qualified Liberians

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Buchanan, Grand Bassa –Representative Thomas Alexander Goshua of District 5 in Grand Bassa County has asked one of the largest concession companies in the county, Equatorial Palm Oil (EPO) to abide by its agreement with the Government of Liberia by employing Liberians into key positions.

Rep. Goshua who once worked for the company before becoming a lawmaker was very outstanding with his statement on the on community Radio over the weekend.

The lawmaker told the public that 50% of EPO’s top management positions are meant for Liberians, lamenting that the company can’t point at three of the top management positions that Liberians are holding.

“We are not going to sit here and allow EPO to play with our citizens and so I have written them to act swiftly or else they’ll have me to contend with,” he said.

He further said, “I once worked for the company and I know exactly where they’re going wrong. I have called them over and over but they are seeing it like I am their worker.”

Goshua mentioned that the company of recent brought in several expatriates to hold top management positions that he as lawmaker knows that there are competent Liberians in the company that can ably handle those positions.

“I have told the company to send back those expatriates because we have Liberians that are more competent to hold those positions, besides it’s part of the agreement with the government,” he said.

The district lawmaker who also serves as the Chairman of the Grand Bassa Legislative Caucus threatened to take serious measures against EPO if his mandate is not adhered to.

It can be recalled that hundreds of citizens protested at the offices of EPO demanding the company to live up to their agreement.

The protest was calmed down by Representative Goshua with the assurance of ensuring that the citizens demand is met to by the company.

Goshua’s current action is due to Equatorial Palm Oil alleged refusal to live by their commitment.

The management of EPO is yet to respond to the allegations despite several attempts by this reporter to get comments.

Equatorial Palm Oil is an oil palm concession company operating in Grand Bassa, Rivercess and Sinoe Counties. It owns over 169,000 hectares, including 1,000 hectares of plantation land it acquired in 2010 from the government.

The firm holds interests in 34,398 hectares of land at Palm Bay area in Grand Bassa County; 54,550 hectares of land at Butaw, Sinoe County area; and 80,000 hectares of land in RiverCess County.

It is a London based firm listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange. A Malaysian firm, KL-Kepong, owns almost 64 percent interest in the company.

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