Statement In Response To Report Concerning Facilities & Securities At Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) Areas

Recent reports in the media highlighted concerns over the various facilities at schools and camps within Sime Darby Plantation Liberia’s (SDPL) areas. The Company is well aware of these concerns and are doing our best to address them.

SDPL would like to clarify that these issues are also part of the report by the Liberia House of Representatives ‘Special Legislative Investigative Committee’s Report on the Operation of Sime Darby Plantation Liberia’ The report contains a number of recommendations for SDPL to resolve the issues and the Company is already in the advance stages of implementing these recommendations.

As a responsible company, SDPL appreciates the spirit of the House of Representatives Committee’s report which encourages sustainable and equitable investments in Liberia.  We affirm our genuine commitment to continue to work and improve relations with all related stakeholders to promote sustainable and inclusive development.
To date, the progress made by SDPL on the Liberia House of Representatives Committee’s recommendations are as follows: 
  1. On water facilities  
Currently, a total of 44 hand pumps at estate camps are available of which 29 were constructed by NGOs earlier and fully maintained by SDPL’s engineering unit To date, only 3 units are under repair due to wear and tear on the pump cylinder and replacement of the stolen pump head.
SDPL would like to highlight that the water supply from all our hand pumps have been certified safe for drinking and fit for human consumption by the Ministry of Health & Welfare. The company also conducts monthly assessment of the water supply to ensure that it is well in accordance with WHO standard.
  1. On latrine facilities
Currently a total of 108 latrines are available at estate camps and 31 units at schools.
Some latrines at the camp sites have malfunctioned due to clogging as a result of improper usage, as rags and paper are used as toilet paper. To-date 39 latrines have been repaired. Awareness on the proper usage of latrine will be intensified along with plans to provide water facilities next to existing latrine i.e poly tank with rainwater harvesting system.
SDPL has budgeted for year 2018 to construct an addition of about 70 latrines for camps and schools without dedicated latrine.
  1. On replacing asbestos roofing sheets as well as improve the structure of the housing units ’
Progressive roofing replacement and housing rehabilitation will be carried out throughout the 1-year period.
  1. On science laboratory and library at schools
Science laboratory and library are already available, however the equipment and upgrading works will be completed by June 2018. An annex for the cafeteria has been budgeted for construction in October 2018
  1. On regular ambulance service to be provided
Regular ambulance service is provided and is adequate to cater for all 4 Estates in SDPL during emergency cases, i.e from field to clinic and from clinic to Monrovia. An additional ambulance has been budgeted for in financial year 2018/2019 to enhance the service for employees and community
  1. ‘That those seen in the video torturing a Liberian citizen be identified and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent for would be violators of human rights on the plantation.’
Those involved in the video are not employees of SDPL, with the exception of Boima Feika (Acting Chief Security) who underwent a domestic inquiry and has consequently been suspended. Boima Feika has surrendered himself to LNP  and the case is currently under Police investigation.
SDPL will also continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Justice to improve the standard of conduct and compliance, not only of our employees but also our partners from the local communities to be in line with the Liberia Law. This will entail initiatives to increase awareness on the importance of zero-violence, respect for human rights as well as codes of conduct policy and standard procedures manual.
In addition to the above progress updates, to date, SDPL is also proud to be able to deliver other various development to the local communities in the country, including among others:
  • Construction of 1 new school in Senii town  in 2012 for the 17 Affected Communities and the rehabilitation of other 7 schools within SDPL’s concession areas are ongoing
  • Funding a total of 5,136 students and 135 teachers
  • Providing training facilities for Liberians to undertake estate operations
  • Spending a total of USD 713,000 for Liberian students’ local and international Scholarships
SDPL will continue to do its best to assist in the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the necessary and basic infrastructure and facilities in its areas of operation in Liberia. On that note, it is equally important for SDPL to reiterate that these development efforts will take time to materialise and must also take into account sensible consideration of the Company’s own business performance.
20 May 2018
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