By Pastor Sinneh Kamara
The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Hu Zhangliang at weekend visited the Lvyuan Wood and Furniture Company Limited at Rotinfunk Road, 200 meters away from Makolo Roundabout to Songo Highway.
The Chinese Ambassador’s visit to the factory was to endorse and encourage Green Development and Local Production within the ambit of China-Sierra Leone Cooperation.
Ambassador Hu Zhangliang expressed delight at visiting the Lvyuan Wood and Furniture Company Limited, noting that the People’s Republic of China has entered into a new stage of higher-level development of which His Excellency President Xl Jinping has put forward the development philosophy that stresses innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared Development and that Green Development is now one of the key components of China’s Comprehensive Development Strategy.
Ambassador Hu Zhangliang intimated that the China-Africa Cooperation has been elevated to a higher level, noting that at the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Senegal last year, China and Africa set Green Development as one of the priority areas of future cooperation.
According to Ambassador Hu Zhangliang, “To my joy, the Lvyuan Wood and Furniture Company Limited and the indefatigable Chinese businesswoman, Madame Sunny, are actively implementing China’s new development philosophy and its new guidelines for China-Africa Cooperation by setting up the Song Timber Factory.” He further expressed how he was highly impressed.
The Chinese Ambassador expressed delight at the fact that the factory does not only make good use of timber to make value-added wood products locally, but also offers saplings to the community residents for the reforestation of the country. He disclosed that the factory provides six hundred job opportunities for the local people with only fifteen Chinese employees as technicians, which the Chinese Ambassador described as a concrete step in realizing the Local Content Policy and results in a Win-Win Situation.
Ambassador Hu Zhangliang enthused: “I hope this factory and all the other Chinese invested companies in Sierra Leone will as always abide by the laws and regulations of the land, strictly respect the traditions and customs of our local friends, ensure the legitimate interests and welfare of the employees are enhanced and make more contribution to the development of the local society through a Win-Win Cooperation.”
Hu Zhangliang averred that he was with the strong conviction that the Government and people of Sierra Leone would continue to support and protect such commendable investments, take good care of the legitimate concerns and interests of the investors, and make them feel at home in doing their businesses.
In her statement, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lvyuan Wood and Furniture Company Limited, Madam Sunny Yong, who thanked the Ambassador for his visit, disclosed that she had been out of China for over two decades and had spent sixteen years of that period in Sierra Leone.
The CEO disclosed that the factory is situated on 27- acre land and that the second phase would be the cultivation of vegetables that would be available on the market in the next six months.
“We are doing this investment because I am an expert in timber and furniture production and also wait to see how I can help develop the country I am working in,” said Madam Sunny Yong.
She averred that the 600 workers have been trained in different types of machinery and they are working assiduously as they have been given quality employment packages that have motivated them to be very much determined for the company.
The CEO said they are gender-sensitive as they have employed many women within the Songo community and its environs because of their nearness to the factory and with the expectation that they can deliver well.
Madam Yong furthered that though they have just started operations, they are doing extremely well because they believe in abiding by the laws of the land and ensuring that they do not default. She added that even the exportation they have been doing in the last three years had been very successful because of their commitment to always abide by the laws.
In an exclusive interview with the Personal Assistant (PA) to the CEO of Lvyuan Wood and Furniture Company Limited, Mr. Leon Lee commended the Chinese Ambassador for visiting their factory. He described the Ambassador’s visit as a move in the right direction towards fulfilling his purpose of endorsing and encouraging Green Development and Local Production in the China-Sierra Leone Cooperation.
Mr. Leon Lee disclosed that the factory was established on 11th January 2021 and officially started production on the 15th May 2021. He added that the factory covers an area of 220,000 square meters which is divided into four areas that include the Workshop, Warehouse, Solar Energy Exhibition Hall, Grinding and Sawing Rooms, Generator Rooms, and Staff Dormitories.
Personal Assistant Leon Lee furthered that the factory does not only make good use of timber to produce value-added wood products locally but also contributes saplings to the community for the reforestation of the country. He reiterated that the factory has currently provided 600 job opportunities for the local people with only 15 Chinese technicians.
Speaking to one of the staff members of Lvyuan Wood and Furniture Company Limited, who spoke during the visit of the Chinese Ambassador, applauded the company for establishing such an investment in Sierra Leone.
The local employee also commended the company for its support to the community it operates in since its inception.
Many of the local workers this medium interviewed on the operations of the company called on other investors to emulate a good example of Lvyuan Wood and Furniture Company Limited that will contribute positively towards the overall development of the country.