June 1, 2017 By Jariatu S. Bangura
Arne B. Johansen, Managing Director of LEOCEM Cement Factory, has disclosed to Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Committees on Lands, Water, Labour and Trade respectively, that they usually give seven million Leones (Le7m) as annual support to the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA).
The Managing Director made the disclosure during a visit of Parliamentary Oversight Committees to the factory recently.
“We spend Le7m yearly to EDSA for our operations, and also to supply electricity across the country. Without electricity supply, we will not operate as a business. If EDSA is not operating, LEOCEM will continue to subsidize for consumers,” he disclosed.
He added that since they started operation, they have been paying allure taxes, claiming that LEOCEM is the highest tax payer in the country.
He noted that LEOCEM has been supporting education, teachers and workers in the country.
“We regularly pay our taxes because failure to do so will impede the work of government,” he said.
One of their major challenges, he said, was that importers were importing cement into the country without paying import duties.
He called on the MPs to impose tax on them in order to maintain the country’s economy.
“The factory has a history of venturing into business that will enhance productivity for the benefit of the nation. We always work in line with the slogan of building the nation. We have been submitting our EIA report to EPA on a quarterly basis,” he said, noting that they always act on EPA’s recommendations.
Arne B. Johansen thanked the visiting MPs and hastened to inform them that they have been complying with environmental laws, adding that they have maintained health and safety issues of their workers.
Chairman of the visiting MPs, Hon. Foday Rado Yokie, said they visited the factory to ascertain as to whether authorities were complying with the laws of the country, especially with regards the compliance of labour laws, minimum wage, environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), among others.
Hon. Foday Rado Yokie said they were also there for the authorities of the cement manufacturing factory to outline their challenges and successes, adding that they also wanted to know the relationship between the factory and the community where it operates.
Hon. Yokie said parliament will have to intervene in addressing challenging issues raised by LEOCEM, because the factory has been assisting the country.
On his part,Hon. Dickson Rogers said LEOCEM has always stand by the country in good and bad times, suggesting that authorities of LEOCEM must engage its host MP and parliament in order to address the issues, especially regarding the importation of cement.