Deal On Course! As ‘Dedicated Delegation’ Meets Boakai

Following their arrival in Monrovia last Friday and escorted at the Palm Spring Hotel in Congo Town by Liberian police, a delegation of Chinese companies yesterday met with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai at the Capitol Building.

A release from VP Boakai’s office issued yesterday said the Vice President hailed the relationship between Liberia and the Peoples Republic of China and spoke of the rising levels of economic cooperation that could bring the two peoples closer together and boost economic prosperity between the two nations.

Accordingly, Vice President Boakai said in recent times, he has seen a lot of cooperation between the two countries including the role of China in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.

He reportedly spoke Wednesday when a thirteen- man Chinese business delegation, accompanied by Liberia’s Ambassador to China, McKinley Thomas and Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Zhang Yue paid a courtesy call on him at his Capitol Building Office.

The delegation is said to include some of China’s top companies who said they were in the country to explore the possibility of investing in mining, power, engineering, fruit processing, and rail transport, solar and wind energy and mineral exploration, among others.

Vice President Boakai, the release noted, stressed that unless the natural resources of a country are exploited for the benefit of the people, the people will continue to live in poverty and noted that this is the largest Chinese business delegation he has hosted and hoped that something good can come out this visit. He admonished the two envoys and line ministries holding talks with the delegation to ensure that the visit yields the desired benefits for both Liberia and China.

The visit of the Chinese business delegation is said to be a forerunner to the visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister to Liberia in coming days.

On Monday, August 3, this paper reported the arrival of a ‘dedicated’ Chinese delegation in the country.

Credible information gathered recently in Monrovia from sources within government indicated tense progressive negotiations involving some officials of the Ellen-led regime and their Chinese counterparts, aimed at ensuring that a  Chinese company wins a bid to operate the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County.

The In Profile was hinted that a seven-man Liberian delegation headed by Minister of State Without Portfolio, Sylvester Grigsby, recently visited China to strike the deal.

Accordingly, other members of the Liberian delegation included Jake Kabakollie from the National Oil Company of Liberia, the Deputy Chief of Office Staff to VP Boakai, the Special Assistant to VP Boakai, the Commander of the Executive Protective Services (EPS) assigned to VP Boakai, one Monbo from the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP), and one Gus who is said to be Economic Advisor to President Sirleaf.

Sources also claimed that if deal is sealed, the Chinese have promised US$5b investment package once they are awarded the bid to exploit the Wologisi Mountain.

The US$5b investment package is said to include a road infrastructure, a new airport and a newer 250 Megawatt Hydro in Liberia.

Granted another Chinese company wins a bid, this time for Mt. Wologisi, two Chinese companies will be noted for exploiting mountains in Liberia under the Unity Party-led government.

Currently, it is recalled that China Union is operating in Bong Mines, Lower Bong County, but its operations have often been threatened by intermittent go-slows due to alleged bad labor practices.

Meanwhile, the presence of the Chinese delegation in Monrovia suggests a return leg of negotiation on the deal as the delegation has reportedly been expected based on invitation from GOL’s chief negotiators.

This latest development regarding the Wologisi chase has created an uncertainty as to what happens to Jindal, an Indian giant steel company which President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf once led a huge Liberian Government   delegation and toured its facilities in India thus giving the company the impression to negotiate and to take over the exploitation of one of Liberia’s endowed mineral resources sites.

The deal  involving  the Chinese and top Liberian Government officials  is  being revealed  at the time 2017 presidential and legislative elections are less than three years away  to transition from one civil administration to another.