Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD), Campaign for Just Mining (CJM), and the Association of Journalists on Mining and Extractives (AJME) are still worried about the agreement between government and the London Mining Company.
They also raised concern about the continued silence of President Koroma over the cries of citizens in relation to the London Mining Agreement.
Addressing a press conference yesterday at the Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA) in Freetown, NMJD Mohamed Turay said that, “the recently signed mining lease agreement between the government and London Mining Company remains an issue of great to the civil society”.
He added: the agreement was hurriedly passed in Parliament and contains a dozen of flaws ranging excessive and un warranted tax concessions to the inclusion of a clause that over rides the Mines and Mineral Act.
Turay reiterated that, the Mines and Mineral Act came in to being in December, 2009, adding that this Act came as great beacon light hope for thousands of Sierra Leoneans especially those in mining communities who have been seared in the flames of natural resource predation and environmental and social injustice.
But few months later he stated, a single agreement signed has engulfed that hope.
That London Mining agreement, Mr Turay averred is ad variance with the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act 2009 and that unless the agreement is reviewed in line with the law, it will be deemed dangerous and out rightly exploitative.
London Mining keeps operating under the terms of the dangerous agreement, on the premise of pumping thousands of much needed dollars in to the local economy by way of paying royalties and job creation, he said.
Mohamed Turay maintained that civil society takes great exception to the unfortunate and unrealistic comment often made by Minister of Mineral Resources and Political Affairs, Alhaji Alpha Kanu, that “half a loaf is better than none”.
Our view, he said, is that the phrase ‘half a loaf is better than none’ is only applicable to a situation wherein one goes to beg and expects to receive anything, however little, from a generous giver. The agreement is not about ‘half of a loaf’ it is about the nation receiving one sixth of our own loaf, against the backdrop of environmental destruction.
Mr Turay further demanded an explanation from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for giving huge tax concession to a foreign company when various taxes including the GST are levied on poor Sierra Leoneans.
NMJD Regional Director, Aminata Kelly Lamin, stated that we civil society has nothing against London Mining, but we are concerned that if the agreement in question is left as it is, it will not only make rubbish of the laws of the land but also undermine President Koroma Agenda for Economic and Social Change.
NMJD Executive Director, Abu Brima said that we demand full loaf of bread
By Abibatu Kamara