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

“Rejecting AML Amended
Agreement Will Turn Away Investors”
-Civil Society Group Warns

Civil society organizations have begun a campaign of mounting pressure on the passage of the ArcelorMittal Mineral Development Agreement (MDA).
The Partnership for Sustainable Development (PSD), CSO group joined the bandwagon by warning that rejecting the amended ArcelorMittal Liberia MDA will pose grave consequences to the country’s investment climate, thereby turning away investors.
On the ELBC popular program, the Super Morning Show, two officials of the group, Alieu M. Fahnbulleh and Thomas B. Sallie Jr, both Program Officer and Communication and Advocacy Manager respectively, cautioned that while there may be some genuine concerns about AML’s operations, the company and the government can have more dialogue to mend the shortcomings so as to reach amicable solutions instead of some lawmakers and others claiming to be advocates inciting citizens against the company.
“Inciting citizens to shut the company down will have serious economic consequences on the country. Over 3,000 Liberians will be out of job; the government will lose about $45 million in taxes and that will send a signal to other investors that Liberia does not have a good climate for investment and therefore investors will not take the risk to come here,” Sallie asserted.
Fahnbulleh indicated that while they support citizens’ peaceful protest and presentations of petitions, it is also detrimental to the country for some lawmakers to use community radio stations to malign the reputation of a company that has been making social impacts on affected communities and underwriting the cost of such a huge road project from Ganta to Yekepa.
According to the men, the new agreement has bigger benefits for the affected communities and the government.
“We thank the House of Representatives for passing the agreement. This agreement will allow more Liberians to get employment with ArcelorMittal Liberia; raise the budgetary contribution to $30 million and will increase the revenue generation envelop of the government. We hope as the amended agreement has gone to the Senate, the ‘house of wisdom’ will assess it carefully, use constructive dialogue and sort out the concerns and pass the agreement, but rejecting the agreement and inciting people against the company will bring unbearable consequences to the country,” Fahnbulleh buttressed.
In similar views, the PSD Program Manager Fahnbulleh said, “Though it may not be rosy and there is no investor free of problems, ArcelorMittal is doing well for the country. Civil society is here to guide the society including our lawmakers because they do not know everything. We can sit at the table and discuss what the issues are instead of out rightly calling on citizens to rise against the company.”
The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) recently named ArcelorMittal as Liberia’s largest taxpayer for the fiscal year 2019-2020.
The recognition of ArcelorMittal Liberia as the largest taxpayer comes on the heel of the signing of an amendment to the company’s Mineral Development Agreement (‘MDA’) for the expansion of the Company’s mining and logistics operations in Liberia by the government and ArcelorMittal in September.
The agreement, which is before the Legislature, when passed into law, ArcelorMittal Liberia will meaningfully ramp up production of premium iron ore, generating significant new jobs and wider economic benefits for Liberia.
It encompasses processing, rail, and port facilities and is expected to be one of the largest mining projects in West Africa at the cost of approximately $0.8 billion, according to the company.
For the expansion project, AML said it will include the construction of a new concentration plant and “substantial expansion of mining operations, with the first concentrate expected in late 2023, ramping up to 15 million tonnes per annum (‘mtpa’).”
Under the agreement, the company will have a reservation for expansion for at least up to 30mt, and also invest in upgrading the rail facility for additional capacity and provide more than 2000 jobs.
As the largest foreign investor in Liberia, ArcelorMittal Liberia has invested over $1.7 billion in the country over the past 15 years.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.