Ngafuan Stresses the Need for “Intergenerational Equity”
Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan has underscored the critical need to manage expectations in the wake of the country’s new found natural resource, stressing that the discovery of oil should not be seen as a panacea to all Liberia’s problems.
Speaking at a program commemorating Liberia’s 165th Independence Day in the UK on the theme “Embracing Liberia’s Brighter Economic and Political Prospects: Are we Ready? Ngafuan cautioned that unrealistic expectations, if not managed would fuel frustration and disgruntlement with the propensity to threaten gains so far made in the consolidation of peace and democracy in Liberia.
At the well attended program organized by the Union of Liberian Organizations in the United Kingdom (ULO-UK) in collaboration with the Embassy of Liberia, Minister Ngafuan lauded the enthusiasm and optimism exhibited by Liberians in the Diaspora and at home at the discovery of oil but cautioned that if Liberia is to reap maximum benefits from its new found resources, it should now begin to pursue vigorous pragmatic steps.
According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the march to a brighter economic and political future is tedious but yet attainable if there are conscious efforts to also ensure what he termed “inter-generational equity” in the management of the nation’s resources. He added that inter-generational equity will be ensured if the present generation of Liberians both in and out of government take actions that will not short-change or worsen situations for tomorrow’s generation but pass on a legacy of opportunities.
“We need to dedicate a good chunk of whatever dime we generate from the oil sector to a dedicated scholarship fund to annually train fifty Liberians at home and abroad in fields relevant to the oil sector”, adding that Liberians trained in Petroleum Engineering, Petroleum Law, Petroleum Accounting and Taxation, etc will minimize potentials of exploitations from “experts” who may have agenda contrary to the national interest.
He further underscored the need to support the set up of specialized training programs at the University of Liberia, institutions of higher learning and vocational institutions in fields relevant to the efficient and sustainable exploitation of petroleum resource, buttressing those scholarship beneficiaries could one day take over from foreign lecturers thereby reducing the dependency on foreign lecturers.
The Minister commended the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) on initiatives so far taken to train young Liberians in fields relevant to the Oil Sector as well as for NOCAL’s plans to reform the NOCAL Act and the Petroleum Law. He also used the occasion to commend the National Legislature for the interest shown in the reform and called on both the National Legislature and NOCAL to move swiftly to harmonize their various perspectives of reform so as to rid the two instruments of provisions not in the interest of the Liberian people.
Also attending the ceremony were Liberian Ambassador Resident in UK, Ambassador Wesley Momo Johnson, Liberian Lawyer Kwame Clement, Deputy LBS Managing Director Ledgerhood Rennie and Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs/Special Assistant, Mrs. Sarah Fyneah Dorbor.
The weekend Anniversary programs included thanksgiving service, sporting events and climaxed by in-doors program in Northampton. The activities were organized by the Union of Liberian Organizations in the United Kingdom (ULO-UK) under the theme “Embracing Liberia’s Brighter Economic and Political Prospects: Are we Ready?
ULO-UK was established in 2006 to coordinate activities of the Liberian community in the UK and articulate on behalf of its over six member-organizations. The Organization looks for opportunities to support innovation and improvement of communities in Liberia.