The Promise of a Better Tomorrow

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17-Mar-2014

CEO Speech at Round Table Consultations

SPEECH DELIVERED BY DR. RANDOLPH AKW MCCLAIN, PRESIDENT/CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE NATIONAL OIL COMPANY OF LIBERIA AT THE OPENING OF ROUND TABLE CONSULTATIONS ON THE DRAFT PETROLEUM (EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION) ACT AND THE DRAFT NOCAL ACT OF 2013 UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 53RD NATIONAL LEGISLATURE

Since the commencement of the process to reform our emerging oil and gas sector, consultations with Liberians from every strata of society have undoubtedly played an important role in deepening the involvement of the people in the decision making process of how to efficiently manage the sector now and in the future. Debates surrounding the efficient, transparent and accountable management of the sector have come to absorb an increasing share of the attention of the public in recent years and the government has affirmatively responded with the appropriate reform mechanism.

Three months ago, the House of Representatives, with technical assistance from the National Oil Company of Liberia, executed a Nationwide Consultation to solicit the views of Liberians in the 15 political sub-divisions on the draft Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act and the Draft NOCAL Act of 2013. The New Petroleum Act of 2013 which seeks to, among other things, separate the commercial, policy, and regulatory functions of the National Oil Company of Liberia, will be a strong instrument in harnessing government’s efforts aimed at ensuring that Liberians benefit optimally from their potential oil and gas resource. Indeed, a major element of good governance is broad based citizens’ participation in all matters that affect them.  That is why NOCAL remains fully supportive of the inclusiveness nature of the on-going consultative forums that have characterised the discussions around the Acts under discussion.

NOCAL is also committed to the Government of Liberia’s overarching objective of establishing the appropriate legal and institutional frameworks to ensure the optimal management of Liberia’s potential hydrocarbon resources. The on-going reform process certainly reflects Government’s commitment to championing the efficient management of the sector in order to ensure that revenues generated are utilized to enhance the livelihood of the entire citizenry.

We consider today’s forum as yet another important step in our collective efforts to avoid the curse that has afflicted the management of the natural resources of many Africa countries. It clearly demonstrates that we here in in Liberia are learning from the tragic lessons of what happened when a country’s natural resources and wealth are not efficiently managed. Indeed, the history of the extractive sector of Africa is replete with accounts of how societies have receded into conflicts because of mismanagement of natural resources. We know now that for any society to succeed in its natural resources management it will require the ability and capacity to enact and enforce policies and laws that will advance good governance for the purpose of enhancing sustainable economic growth and stability.

The ultimate measure of the accomplishments of this process must therefore be the degree to which its results comprehensively benefit the nation and its people.

Consequently, reforming our country’s oil sector has not only become the consensus of the government and people of Liberia, but has also led to more tangible measures to ensure transparency and inclusiveness in the management of the sector. Pragmatic cooperation between government and the people in this regard has become more tangible.

This reflects government’s commitment to championing a more robust and economically efficient management of this potential resource in order to afford Liberians the opportunity to optimize the potential benefits of the oil sector.

The policies and laws that are being evolved have the potential to align the country with some of the best examples of oil and gas producing countries around the world. Their application and enforcement will undeniably enhance the livelihood of citizens by building a strong economy and social service delivery system.

We are pleased to note that the executive and national legislature are assiduously working together to register great achievement in this regard... As we embark upon this latest leg of the reform process, we must accelerate the pace and ensure that we push forward the conclusion of this process towards a just and rational outcome.

Let me express our thanks to Director Khoury and her team for helping to make it come together from our side.

We look forward to a resounding success of this forum!

Thank you! 

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