MONROVIA-With the slow pace of Arcelor Mittal’s agreement with the Liberian government and the company, it is leading to many Liberians becoming uneasy; thus making a number of Civil Society Organizations to come out of their shelves to petition the legislature for its ratification.
Though they see that there is need for some changes, yet, the overall interest of the country is what the various groups think.
So, on Thursday, December 9, 2021, The coalition for Youth and Students for Better Liberia and Partnership for Sustainable Development petitioned the House of Representative to unconditionally pass the new Arcelor Mittal amended mineral Development Agreement.
In their petition submitted to the lower house of the National legislature through the Committee on claims and Petition said following president George Weah’s submission of the Arcelor Mittal’s amended mineral Development Agreement, a small segment of the society from the three affected counties that included Grand Bassa , Bong and Nimba are making statements against the passage of the agreement.
The petitioners described such claims as inflammatory and insightful against the company which has the propensity to undermine the investment image of the people of Liberia.
Reading the petition was the media and Advocate Manger of Partnership for Sustainable Development Thomas Sallie who said in an effort to promote the interest of the vast majority of the country’s population, he called on the National legislature to ensure the agreement is passed.
Mr. Sallie said it will be prudent for those Liberians who believe that some provisions of the current Arcelor Mittal amended mineral Development Agreement have not been implemented should be negotiated, rather than calling for the rejection of the new deal and denying over three thousand Liberians the opportunity to get jobs.
According to him, those policymakers and leaders need to sit with the company in finding a solution to those things that were responsible for the company not meeting up with its social corporate responsibility in line with the agreement.
He said the rejection for the expansion should not be an option, stressing that by doing such could cost Liberians to forfeit a minimum of USD 80 Million in annual revenue and three thousand new jobs respectively.
“Additionally, half a million dollars to the affected communities, already USD $3million of development of various infrastructure elevation of Liberia in the global miming Community among others,” he said.
He called on those who are disseminating negative information regarding Arcelor Mittal’s amended mineral Development Agreement to desist in the interest of the people of Liberia.
Presenting the petition Sallie further reveled that on December 8, 2006 the Liberian Government and that of Mittal Steel signed an amended Mineral Development which was passed into law by the legislature in 2007.
According to him, the mineral exploration contains social obligation that included free health care, education, housing, rail and port development as well as jobs creation for the general population
He said after 52 weeks of intensive negation between the Liberian Government and that of Arcelor Mittal through the inter-ministerial Concession Committee, the government signed the amended deal on September 10, 2021 and subsequently submitted the same to the Liberian National legislature for ratification.
The New Agreement according to Mr.Sallie is valued at $800million with more than 2000 jobs expected to be created, among others.
Receiving the petition on behalf of the Lower House of the National Legislature, the Chairman on the committee of Clams and Petition, Representative Gunpue Kargon(who hails from Nimba county) assured the petitioners that none of the legislators including the ordinary citizens is against the Arcelor Mittal amended mineral Development Agreement.
But Representative Kargon indicated that the lawmakers are not going to donate the mountain with the country resources without the country and its citizens benefiting from the resources.
According to him , the legislature will ensure that due diligent is done on that agreement that will allow the incoming generation to benefit from their decision.