As part of their compliance with the procedures of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the certification of factories in the country, the G. Shankerdas and Sons (GSS) have completed a three days disclosure meeting within their communities of operations and policy makers including consumer unit.
The first disclosure meeting was held at the Wellington community centre, the second at Adizaya Centre Kissy Dock yard and the third at the Grassroots Gender Empowerment Movement (GGEM) on the 14th, 15th and 16th of April 2014 respectively.
The meetings were attended by councilors, community heads, youths and women leaders of the various wards that the company operates, representations from EPA, Ministry of Trade and Industry, GSS among others.
According to the senior engineer at GSS, Vicky M. Bushram, their factory have been in operations in Sierra Leone for about seventy (70) years now of which their two factories at wellington industrial estate, R.K Distillery have been in operation for fifteen (15) years and the Soft Drinks factory have only been for three (3) years under GSS.
He maintained that their disclosure was as a result of meeting the requirement of EPA as part of their Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) within their communities of operation, as it is now note worthy for the people to know exactly what they are doing within those communities, explaining that for the wellington community which involves ward 348, 349 and 350 in constituency 97, they propose to make further extension of the Health centre and the Community centre of which they have put the sum total of 200m (two hundred million Leones) for both projects.
The Senior Engineer disclosed that the community people in ward 365 at Kissy Dock yard where they have been in operations for quite a long time, have identified three projects including the construction of a community centre, health centre and water and sanitation, while GSS have placed the sum total of 150m (one hundred and fifty million Leones) for these projects which sum up to the total of Le 350m (three hundred and fifty million Leones) for all the projects within the two communities.
During the power-point presentation on the said documents, the lead Consultant of the ESHIA document, David Conteh, disclosed that the Soft Drink factory at Wellington produces Ram Kola, Ram Energy, Ram Ginger and Luvian Mineral water, while R.K. Distilleries Limited factory in the same area, produces rum such as pega pak, Bitter Kola, Totapak, Louis French brandy among others, and GSS Multi Industrial complex at Kissy Dock yard produces plastic products, alcoholic beverages, portable mineral water for many years now.
He maintained that in 2014 they will undertake the water project at Wellington and in Dockyard they will do the construction of the community centre, in 2015 they will go ahead with education at Wellington and with water and sanitation in Dockyard kissy, and finally in 2016 they will commence the construction at Wellington and Dockyard.
Representing EPA, the senior environmental officer, Paul Lamin, disclosed that the Agency was established by an Act of Parliament in 2008, but started operations in 2010, as it makes provision for companies and factories to have environmental impact assessment, which GSS falls under the category of factory, explaining that the meeting is in compliance with government policy and that they at EPA will have to go and look at the said document and assess it with the reactions of the community people before giving license to any company or factory for a period of one year.
According to the Deputy Director of Industry at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mickail N. Turay, said that it is vital to inform the people about the activities of companies and factories within their communities, as it is the responsibility of the ministry to set up policies for industrial development and their operations, adding that the local content policy made provisions for the inclusion of Sierra Leonean of 20% at the upper management level, 50% at middle level and 100% at lower level and to also use 20% of local raw materials in their production.
Councilors of both communities expressed thanks and appreciation to the government for the good initiative as they have not been receiving such things from companies or factories operating within their various communities, but however, stressed the need for the monies to be increased.
Tuesday April 22, 2014