Bomi County – One of Liberia’s giant oil palm companies, Sime Darby which signed concession agreement with the Liberian Government to plant oil palm in Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Gbarpolu counties all in western Liberia has been praised by the youth in these counties for raising the living standard of them.
This has come out through housing, schools, healthcare delivery, rehabilitating of farm to market road, better incentives for workers and at the sometime improving community-company relations among others.
Those mammoth contributions from the company have been noticed by the Goblah Youth for Development and Advocacy (GOYDA) based in Gorblah Clan, Klay district, Bomi County.
The organization said after careful monitoring, investigations and analyzing the activities of the company in last six years, they have realized that the company has been essential in that part of the country.
The organization acknowledged that despite the enormous challenges facing the company, it has not reneged on helping the citizens in those counties.
“It is also good to be thankful to the management of Sime Darby for the investments and the development that follow including the many good things that the company has started to do in the area of education, road, health, employment opportunity and infrastructure development,” GOYDA said in a statement released over the weekend.
In a statement signed by Francis B. Moore, Secretary General and Clarence Boimah, Chairman of the organization, they recounted that prior to the arrival of Sime Darby Plantation Liberia in Bomi, in 2009, B.F Goodridge and Guthrie plantations operated in those areas for so many years, but they never experienced the rapid economic improvement that they are experiencing under Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL).
The group further stated that they can now boast of over five hundred students who have graduated from the Sime Darby High School both employees and non-employees children which worth commending.
Not only that, but the company has provided series of scholarships through its Yayasan arm for many students in the science and agriculture area.
This is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility work over the years. Similar commendations were made last year when a group of women praised the company for its free and effective healthcare system in the county.
The youth-oriented group also added that citizens working with company and non-workers can now afford to buy bags of rice at a lower cost through the intervention of Sime Darby.
“Economically our communities are improving gradually due to the presence of Sime Darby. Villages and towns were once seen with palm thatches on top of houses, but today it has changed or changing to zinc roofing.”
“Many citizens can now afford to construct their own houses and the use of generators for electricity has improved rapidly,” GOYDA added.
Prior to the arrival of the company in the areas, citizens in those concession areas faced difficulties due to deplorable road conditions, but GOYDA said things have changed for the better through SDPL.
“For the past five years we have noticed that the living standards of people had improved,” the group indicated.
At the same time, the organization is calling on citizens and all Liberians to channel their grievances through proper mechanisms in order to avoid conflict that will scare investors away.
Due to that, the youth are calling on the company to expand its operations in other parts of the country so as to be able to create jobs and also be able accrue good dividend on its investment.
Part of their statement falls in line with president George Weah’s quest to bring in investment in the country. The president said that Liberia was open for business and encouraged international companies to go and invest in Liberia.