Liberia: Senators Darius Dillon, Johnathan BoyCharles Sogbie Write Plenary to Invite Stakeholders to Provide Explanation on the Elimination of 5% Equity in Oil Sector
MONROVIA – Senators Darius Dillon and Johnathan BoyCharles Sogbie of Montserrado and River-Gee Counties have jointly written plenary of the Liberian Senate requesting them to invite the heads of the Liberian Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA) and the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) to provide clear and concise answers to concerns about Liberia 5% participation in the oil sector.
In the Senators’ communication, they said, the response from the LPRA and NOCAL will determine if there is a need to proceed to undo the 2019 amendment made to Section 36 and restore all the provisions of Section 36 as was written in 2014.
“The 10% (at least) equity participation for the Government of Liberia is explicitly written in the 2014 law. The 5% equity participation for companies is explicitly written in the approved 2019 amendments. Will there be any disadvantage if we explicitly write in the law 5% equity for citizen’s funds it was written before the 2019 amendment?” the communication stated.
The Senators request to the Senate is also intended to seek clear and succinct information/update from the Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Authority on the status of a 5% equity in Petroleum contracts whose dividend was mandated by the 2016 Petroleum Law to be deposited into a Citizens Fund for the benefit of every Liberian.
The Senators’ action comes amidst mounting concerns from Liberians that a secret amendment to Section 36 of Liberia’s 2016 Petroleum Law – done in 2019 – squashed the right of all Liberians to the 5% equity and transferred said right to only Liberians with oil & gas business.
The amendment to section 36 reads: “Five percent equity for businesses owned by persons of natural-born Liberian Citizenship”. Before the amendment, Section 36 mandated 5% for the benefit of a Citizens Fund and mandated clear pathways on how the funds should be managed to benefit every Liberian.
Both Senators want the 5% equity right restored to the Citizens Fund for the benefit of all Liberians as was mandated before the 2019 secret amendment.
Senator Sogbie worked with NOCAL and played a major role in the public consultation that gave birth to the 2016 Petroleum Law. He has depth of first-hand experience of all the factors that led to the inclusion of a mandatory 5% Equity for all Liberians through a Citizens Fund.
CORLE, the group leading the campaign for the restoration of the Citizens 5% equity, has welcomed the action of the two Senators. The group’s Chairman, Ambulah Mamey described the action as a bolster to the campaign and an indirect support a legal process CORLE currently pursues.