The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Citizens’ Decry Implications of ArcelorMittal Closure In Liberia

Many persons have begun coming on the side of the largest foreign investor in Liberia, ArcelorMittal Liberia which has invested over $1.7 billion in the country over the past 15 years.
According to them, AML created 1,700 direct jobs, 97 percent which are occupied by Liberians; ArcelorMittal also operates a Vocational Training Center and provides two-year residential certificate training in mechanical and electrical trades.
The Government of the Republic of Liberia and ArcelorMittal (‘the Company’), the world’s leading steel company, recently signed an amendment to the Mineral Development Agreement (‘MDA’) to pave the way for the expansion of the Company’s mining and logistics operations in Liberia.
The amended MDA has been engulfed with controversy emanating from hand-full of aggrieved citizens of Nimba County, who have petitioned the National Legislature to deny the extension of the company’s operations.
The controversy has raising concerns over the implications of ArcelorMittal pulling out of Liberia, drawing from the contributions the company has made in the Health, and Education’ sectors as well as Youth empowerment and its annual contributions to national development.
According to the company’s Mineral Development Agreement compliance report “ArcelorMittal Liberia has complied with all its material MDA commitment and obligations.
Viewing from the report, it’s projected that ArcelorMittal controls the health sector in Nimba and Grand Bassa counties, following the rehabilitation and regular operations of one hospital each in Buchanan and Yekepa which has attended to about 218, 000 patients over the last 14 years.
Further in the compliance report, Arcelor Mittal claimed to have spent over US$ 18 million as operational coast for their controlled hospitals in Buchanan and Yekepa, something which pundits believed ArcelorMittal closure will be a major setback for the health sector in the two counties and other neighboring counties.
The greater focus of ArcelorMittal’s contribution in the education sector is in Nimba County, with the reopening of the Yekepa Vocational Training Center (VTC); Pre-primary, Primary (Elementary), Junior High, Senior High School.
Also enclosed in the compliance report, ArcelorMittal Liberia claimed to have spent US$7 Million on their VTC program which according to them over 150 students are benefiting from; with priority given to students in Grand Bassa, Nimba, and Bong Counties.
The world leading steel and mining company also runs an advanced studies scholarship program in Liberia, which has benefited 48 Liberians at cost of US$ 1.7 million over the last 15 years.
ArcelorMittal which runs all schools in Yekepa is seen as the light in darkness, and if the company pulls out over 2, 000 students will suffer academic setback.
AML contributions US$3 million to County Social Development Funds (CSDF) annually in the 3 effected counties (Nimba, Bong, and Grand Bassa), according to the amended MDA US$ 500, 000 will be added to this amount.
The government believed that the company’s committed to the CSDF is a milestone to national development.
“We are delighted to have reached this important agreement with ArcelorMittal Liberia, our long-term partner in the development of the mining sector in Liberia. This agreement demonstrates to the world that Liberia welcomes foreign direct investment and is a key emerging destination for capital. It further supports the Government’s ‘Pro Poor’ agenda, which is underpinned by the importance of creating jobs to lift Liberian citizens out of poverty. The further investment by ArcelorMittal in Liberia bears testament to the company’s confidence in the future of this country. We are confident that our constructive working relationship will go from strength to strength.” President Weah remarks during the signing of the amended Mineral Development Agreement.
ArcelorMittal amended Mineral Development Agreement As part of the expansion, has launched a training and development program for high potential Liberian employees who will gain on the job experience and knowledge in ArcelorMittal Mining operations globally.
The employees will receive advanced training in the fields of mining production and operation optimization, plant maintenance, planning and execution, plant electrical operation systems, and electrical maintenance. Other training areas include plant fitting and heavy-duty mobile equipment maintenance, as well as mine production and operations.
In addition, it is envisaged that the expansion will further boost the growth of small and medium sized businesses in Liberia which offer a range of services to ArcelorMittal Liberia, many believed that those small businesses will suffer major setback if ArcelorMittal pulls out of Liberia.
According to Macrotrends statistic in 2020, Liberia has an unemployment rate of 3.30%, something ArcelorMittal is committed to reducing, by employing 3,000 Liberians following the approval of its extended Mineral Development Agreement; “disapproval of ArcelorMittal extension is proportional to the rejection of 3,000 jobs.

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