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

Hiccups In ArcelorMittal
Mineral Agreement
…As LLA Complains Of No Involvement

By Bill W. Cooper
The Liberia Land Authority (LLA) says ArcelorMittal’s US$800 million extension Mineral Development Agreement will not be sealed if the concerns of the affected communities are not taken into consideration.
Addressing the House joint committee on Mines and Energy, Finance, Investment and Commission at hearing into the agreement yesterday at the Capitol Building, the LLA boss argued that since the concession has nine years more in its favor, it is important that the agreement for extension falls line with the Land Rights Act as well as involve the respective communities that will be affected by the company’s operations.
“I am saying this today because if we do not say it, the government will be blamed and the Land Authority will also equally not be left out,” Atty J. Adams Manobah contended.
The LLA boss alarmed that the LLA has been excluded from the negotiations and signing of the Mineral Development Agreement between the government and ArcelorMittal Liberia emphasizing, “I am under oath; the LLA which has the sole authority to regulate land issues in this country was not part of the formation and has no input into this document as it was on last night that I saw this agreement.”
The Liberia Land Authority (LLA) was established by an Act of the National Legislature on October 6, 2016, as an autonomous agency of the Liberian government with operational independence subsumes, land functions that were performed by several agencies of government.
Those agencies include key land administration agencies, department of Lands, Survey and Cartography of the former Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME) now Mines and Energy, the Deeds and Titles Registry of the Center for National Documents Records Agency (CNDRA), and functions of County Land Commissioners from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Atty. Manobah said the if the LLA had played its role, the right things would have been done, but added that it is not still late to do the necessary corrections suggesting, “So, honorable committee chair and members, it is now time for you as the people’s direct representatives to see the need and make the necessary adjustments in the agreement before its passage.”
Representative Larry Younquoi who hails from one of the distressed countries, Nimba County, cautioned his colleagues saying, “While it is true that we want to be investment friendly, we should also think about our communities and our people.”
“If we extend this concession now and nine years still unused that will be towards 2040; when will our communities get their five percent and with the Land Authority’s information, there is now enough grounds to tell the President to do some adjustment on this agreement,” the District 9 Representative interjected.
“It is still wise for the government of Liberia to manage our rail and port. The people of Nimba believe that it is not time to extend anything, but can only expand. Though we cannot change anything from the agreement; but from the presentations from the Executive especially the LLA, we say no to the rectification of this agreement,” he incited the committee.
However, contrary to Rep. Younquoi assertion, Montserrado County District 16 Rep, Dixon Seboe, averred, “Our interactions here are not about rejection, but to do some amendment and ensure that this agreement which is expected to contribute immensely to our country’s economy meet the needs and aspiration of our people.”
Earlier, the Chairperson of the National Investment Commission (NIC), Molewuleh B. Gray, stated that though this government inherited the agreement, it has been negotiating for almost a year and half and emphasized that it will immensely support the country’s resource envelope.
“And Mittal being one of our largest investors, we have to create the necessary space to move in to phase three of their project,” he appealed.

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