Deputy Public Works Minister for Rural Development, Jackson J. Paye, has called on residents of Joe River District in Rivercess County to embrace development.
Minister Paye made the statement on Saturday, January 23, 2015, in response to a traditional chief who accused logging companies operating in the area of refusing to employ his two sons and at the same time put him on payroll.
Traditional Chief Bah Johnson, at the dedication ceremony of a bridge project in Joe River District, accused logging companies of ignoring his demand to employ his sons and him.
According to Minister Paye, though investors owe a lot to local communities, he was in empathy with them because as concessionaires, they pay huge taxes to government to take care of citizens in the particular place they operate.
He emphasized that even though the land belongs to the community, the primary objective of investor is to make profit for which they settle their obligation to the people through central government.
Minister Paye further told the people of Joe River District that what they can do as government officials is to continue to talk to the investors to do more for the people, stressing “citizens themselves should do more in terms of self-help initiatives.”
“Government cannot do it all because of limited resources,” he told the citizens. “Everybody may not benefit directly from these investments; but those in the employ of the companies will bring revenues to the families and other residents.”
He also told citizens that when these companies’ tenure shall have expired, every development they carry on will be for the local communities, something he said will benefit everybody.
The rural development expert also cautioned investors operating in the area that, while it is true they are not under obligation to do certain things, it was necessary to show the human side of their investments, adding that the areas in which they operate have too many needs that central government alone cannot handle.
Meanwhile, Minister Paye has called on private companies operating in Rivercess County to liaise with the Ministry of Public Works regarding infrastructure developments they are undertaking in their concession areas for best practices.
He pleaded with logging companies to consider using low volume road “sealant” in order to reduce the maintenance cost while at the same time leaving behind good road when their concession agreements.