$2.5bn Deal is Risky: Opposition Political Parties Criticizes Liberia-China Resource Swap Deal

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Monrovia, Liberia- Three major political parties in Liberia, the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Unity Party (UP) and Liberty Party (LP) have termed the Liberia-China Resource Swap Deal risky, and worried that it may seem dangerous for the country.

During a press conference at the ANC headquarters on Thursday, Mr. Alexander Cummings, political leader of the ANC said, the government decision to swap all of the country’s resources with China for $2.5bn is risky.

Mr. Cummings said, “The resource swap is of concern to us. The caption of this swap rings an alarming bell to me and all Liberians. I am not aware of a single situation where the outcomes of these kinds of arrangements have been a success. We do need to understand the details of what is being negotiated.” The ANC political leader said, although he is “still carefully studying the deal,” he wants the government to explain in detail, the benefits and reward of the deal which Liberians will enjoy.

“We have not seen lots of details; I want to be careful to make statements based on facts. But do we as Liberians understand the values of our own resources? Have we done a work to know that our resources are valued at only US$2.5 billion? How do we know that it is not US$5 billion or US$10 billion?”, Mr. Cummings questioned. He also expressed concerns that in that absence of a detailed explanation of the benefits the deals would bring to the country, the Weah-led administration would be “killing the future of Liberian.” Mr. Cummings urged the government not to rush the deal, expressed additonal concern as to how will the assessment of the natural resources be done, which would ultimately determine the value.

“It cannot be just about getting money to build roads; this is more complex. It is about us Liberians controlling the future of our resources in our country.
“We cannot kill the future of our country and our children; we must truly understand what are we giving up and getting in return,” Cummings advised. He called on the legislature to carefully look at details of the deal before ratification.

During the announcement of the deal on Tuesday, Finance Minister Samuel Tweh said, potential financiers are expected to conduct an assessment of Liberia’s natural resources to determine the money’s worth.

Since the announcement of the Resource Swap Deal, there have been mixed reaction among Liberians on the issue. Liberians in favor of the deal have termed it as a positive step toward development on the part of the government. Speaking to the Liberian Billboard, they said, there is no sense in having resources sitting while the country need real development.

However, Liberians from the other side termed the deal as dangerous, since it involves all of our natural resources. They said, it is more like mortgaging Liberia to China, which is a threat to our sovereignty.