By Bill W. Cooper
President George Weah has informed the House of Representatives of his government’s willingness to renegotiate the 3rd amendment of the ArcelorMittal Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) in the tune of US$800 million.
President Weah, in his communication to the House stated that while he acknowledges the Legislature’s action, his government continues to believe that the AML amendment agreement is in the best interest of the country and its people.
Having taken note of the Legislature’s decision to decline the agreement, the Liberian leader further stated that he has directed the members of the Inter-Ministerial Concessions Committee (IMCC) to renegotiate the agreement based on the lawmakers’ observations.
“My government remains fully committed to a fair multi-user access to and use of the railroad corridor from Yekepa to the Port of Buchanan, and to the Port of Buchanan itself, both by other Liberian enterprises and those from the sister Republic of Guinea,” he said.
President Weah further stated that he has also agrees with the House on the issue of Liberia having control over its infrastructure assets, adding, “Such access and use will be beneficial to both nations and enhance the goals and purposes of the ECOWAS and the Mano River Union; both of which Liberia is a member.”
“Therefore, l have directed the members of IMCC to review and analyze the points made in your letter, to further confer with you, and then to report their findings to me for further action,” the Liberian Chief Executive noted.
According to him, after such review is done, he will then authorize the IMCC to hold discussions with ArcelorMittal for the resubmission of an “amendment that fairly satisfies the needs of that company, while also upholding the national interests of Liberia.”
Meanwhile, following the reading of the President’s communication, Speaker, Bhofal Chambers thanked the President for attempting to renegotiate AML’s deal in the best interest of the country.
Speaker Chambers described the decision to return the AML deal to the Executive Branch with several recommendations which should be included in an attempt to renegotiate the agreement as the “greatest achievement to humanity.”
It can be recalled that the House’s March 28 letter, signed by its chief clerk, Mildred Sayon, noted that the proposed AML agreement essentially ignores key provisions of the Minerals and Mining Law of Liberia, particularly Article 6, Sections 6.1 to 6.3, and Section 5.3 of the Law.
“Mr. President, the Honorable House of Representatives conveys the following recommendations: That the government retains ownership of the railroads, port of Buchanan, and other related infrastructures; that the government initiates a recruitment process aimed at hiring an independent operator of the railroad to ensure non-discriminatory management of the Railroads and other related infrastructure,” the House said in its letter.
“And any future renegotiation of this concession, other existing concessions, and new concessions gives consideration to the full application of all relevant laws including the Act creating the WASH Commission and the Land Rights Law,” the letter continues.
“And that future amendment of the AML MDA, other existing concessions and/or new concessions considers a role for the National Housing Authority to ensure standard and improved housing facilities for employees and their dependents,” the House letter added.
Gov’t To “Renegotiate”
AML US$800M Deal
By Bill W. Cooper