TIDFORE International Company (TIDFORE) and National Port Development Ltd (NPD) have promised employing over three thousand people in the Fourah Bay, Cline Town and surrounding communities.
This revelation was made following the companies’ public disclosure on the Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the expansion of the Queen Elizabeth II Quay Port project Friday 2nd in Freetown.
The disclosure which took place at the conference room of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA) saw headmen of the Fourah Bay, Cline Town and surrounding neighborhoods including youths and other stakeholders applauding intentions of TIDFORE & NPD as laudable.
That in conformity with the Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency Act 2008, its amendment in 2010, the NPD & TIDFORE Project needs to be planned and designed in a manner that minimizes potential negative social and environmental impacts.
This is expected to be achieved through the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Process that was undertaken by the Environmental Consulting Services in Sierra Leone on behalf of TIDFORE & Partners.
Year Kargbo, deputy general manager SLPA said when they would have completed the project, it will create over three thousand jobs, which according to him, will tackle part of country’s unemployment challenges.
Joseph William Jusu, SLPA’s principal safety officer said the project is but no doubt very big for communities around the port and the country generally.
He also explained how the seaside and the cost line have to be expanded too.
“I hope the affected community will be considered,” Joseph said.
He disclosed that Berth Three will be expanded and will affect other people in and out of the Port, but stressed on the economic development it will make to Sierra Leone in terms of transhipment hub in West Africa.
Shar W. Ngegba, one of TIDFORE and NPD’s directors said that the purpose of the public disclosure is to showcase what they as a company will be doing in the near future.
“The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report presented to the Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency (EPA-SL) will also be presented to affected and interested stakeholders in the form of a public disclosure for discussion,” Sahr Ngegba said.
That they will use the local content policy as a means to empower local people in their implementation of the project.
He encouraged all to embrace such development as, according to him, the project is good for them, especially the youth.
“After the expansion, the Port will become a transhipment hub. It will bring social and economic development in the country,” Sahr Ngegba emphasized.
He thanked the Port management for making such dream a reality and encouraged the community people to give them their support.
“The amount of containers that are coming to the country will make NRA gets lots of money for the development of the country,” he added.
He went on to say that the experts have taken all the necessary measures to make certain the safety of the people and surrounding communities.
“We need to hold this project not just for us but for the future generation. This project will create a community partnership board which will be doing community development action plans,” Sahr Ngegba continued.
Melissa Ndure, EPA’s senior environmental officer said EPA was set up in 2008 by an Act of Parliament to protect the environment so as to ensure that the environment is safe.
She said the report is looking at measures the company will take in tackling negative impacts on the environment and the community.
“Projects usually come with good and bad effects,” Melissa said.
“In this report, we will look at the good and the bad and later bring it to the public. The people must be part of the process through the public disclosure.”
She explained that they have the community development action plan which gives them (EPA-SL) the right to monitor their activities on quarterly bases.
“If they fail to do what they say, we will hold them accountable. The document is legally binding,” she stressed.
Abdulai Conteh, manager of the environmental consulting firm in Sierra Leone presented findings to the audience during the public disclosure meeting.
The project, he said, will impact the berths and that the turning circles must be dredged in an environmental friendly manner.
Disturbance of benthic flora and fauna at and around the disposal site and increased sediment loads in the water column are among the impact of the project.
Issues/ impacts include water pollution, waste water, air emission, solid waste, hazardous material, liquid waste, marine and coastal ecology, visual impact, dredging and social impacts.
Chief AlhajiTejan-Cole of Fourah Bay Community called on the company for them to ensure that the people of the community benefit from the project.
Chief Pa Alimany Conteh of Cline Town praised the project as good for his community and welcome the venture as laudable.
He appealed to the company to think about them when they would have completed the work and started operation proper.
The work has been reported in two separate volumes: (1) The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Study for the Project and (2) The Environmental Management Plan.
Stakeholders and interested persons participated in the consultation process for the expansion of the Queen Elizabeth II Quay Project and they endorsed the report for the project to kick off.