As student group supports agreement
A youth and student civil society group called the Coalition of Youths & Students for Better Liberia (COYSBL), has expressed support for the US$800 million ArcelorMittal Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) amendment between the company and the Government of Liberia.
The group marched to the Capitol Monday, 6 December 2021 to demand passage of the MDA. The Coalition said after scrutinizing the US$800 million ArcelorMittal Mineral Development Agreement Amendment, it is convinced that the Agreement "is in the supreme interest of the Liberian People."
The group then calls for its speedy ratification by the Legislature.
Their protest comes a few days after some citizens of Nimba protested at the same Capitol rejecting the ArcelorMittal deal.
After 52 weeks of negotiation by the Government of Liberia, through the Inter-Ministerial Concession Committee (IMCC), the Government of Liberia signed the ArcelorMittal MDA Amendment on 10 September 2021.
Speaking on behalf of the youth and student coalition at the news conference, the group's Chairman Jeremiah Paye stated that their analysis of the ArcelorMittal MDA Amendment indicates that a ratification of the deal by the Legislature will greatly lead to increment in the company's tax portfolio and royalties and rise in its annual support to the National Budget.
He also claimed there will be a significant reduction in unemployment in Liberia, and an increase in the company's social contributions range to affected counties (Nimba, Grand Bassa & Bong), among others.
The group has boasted of several achievements of ArcelorMittal Liberia in the last 15 years, including the provision of direct and indirect jobs for over 5,000 Liberians.
Mr. Paye said Liberians currently hold 66% of the senior management positions at ArcelorMittal Liberia. He said since 2006, ArcelorMittal Liberia has spent over USD$38m on County & Social Development Fund.
He continued: "Community Development Fund (CDF) has been launched, ensuring that 20% of CSDF goes directly to affected communities for development."
He narrated that ArcelorMittal Liberia has been contributing US $3.0 million annually for the three counties in which it operates (Nimba, Grand Bassa & Bong)," adding that "to date, the company has paid $45 million towards this commitment.
"AML has made a US $40 million commitment to fund the paving of Yekepa to Ganta Highway, after the people of Nimba complained that LAMCO had not built this highway during its decades in Liberia," he continued.
On the side of healthcare, Paye disclosed that ArcelorMittal has spent $18 million to undertake major renovations of the existing health infrastructure and upgraded health facilities in its concession area and outside of its concession areas.
Across Liberia, he said, ArcelorMittal Liberia spent $5.52 million to help the Government respond to EBOLA and COVID-19.
Speaking of the current US$800 Million Agreement before the Legislature for ratification, Chairman Paye listed several benefits for Liberians that he said are contained the instrument.
He said taxes, royalties, CSDF, contributions to affected communities, and other contributions by the company as contained in the MDA will be significantly increased.
The group called on members of the Legislature to speedily ratify the ArcelorMittal Mineral Development Agreement Amendment so as to rekindle confidence for private investment in Liberia.