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.

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