-Min. Nagbe Clarifies Issues Surrounding Alleged Swap Deal
By Reuben Sei Waylaun
The Government of Liberia has clarified that Wologisi mountain in Lofa County is not part of any swap deal with the People’s Republic of China as insinuated in the country.
Recently at a press conference in Monrovia upon his return from China, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel Tweah disclosed that some swap deals with China are in the making.
However, Minister Tweah said details of the “swap” deal that will see Liberia exchange its natural resources for US$2.5 billion as financing for the country’s development for the next five years will take place soon.
Since the announcement by Minister Tweah, Liberians continue to insinuate that Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County was the focus of the government as part of this swap deal the government wants to enter into.
But appearing on the Liberia Broadcasting System Radio and television Tuesday, Information Minister Eugene Nagbe denied such allegations, saying ‘wologisi is safe and not part of any swap deal.”
“We have not put wologisi mountain out for any swap deal. The swap deal will have to do with gold, diamond. We have to preserved the interest of the state. We don’t even know what wologisi contains so how can we put it out for swap deal,” he said.
According to Minister Nagbe, the process is a barter system and it’s to the Chinese to propose what they want, but wologisi is not in the discussion as the swap deal goes on.
He is of the believe that wologisi mountain will be extracted by may be the government of President George Weah or other governments to come, but maintains that the mountain is not part of the pending swap deal.
Chinese company will extract resources after conducting a feasibility study to determine the exact value.
Recently, Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah said the agreement is a sort of monetization that would leverage the country’s natural resources for hard currency.
“Let me be very clear on it, this is not a loan. It is an investment facility; a framework enters into between the China Road and Bridge Corporation and the Government of Liberia under the FOCAC arrangement to unveil US$2.5billion dollars for financing the country development over the next five years.”
Opposition Political Parties recently raised red flag over the Liberia-China US$2.5bn Resource Swap Deal
The tripartite political opposition parties, Unity Party (UP), Liberty Party (LP) and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) opposed the natural resource swap deal entered into by the Liberia Government and China.
Alexander B. Cummings, ANC’s political leader, said the George Manneh Weah administration’s move to swap “all” of Liberia’s natural resources for US$2.5 billion with China is risky for his country.