MONROVIA-Citizens in Grand Bassa, one of AML’s host counties, are urging their lawmakers to jealously protect ArcelorMittal’s investment in Liberia. The citizens in Grand Bassa believe AML has delivered unmatched community assistance to them compared to any concession in post-war Liberia.
A late evening listener’s survey on Radio Dukpa, a community radio station in Grand Bassa County, on the questions: “What do you think of AML work in Liberia? Do you want them stay or Leave?” revealed massive support and appreciation for the global steel giant’s operation in Liberia, even though a small number of callers insisted the company “needs to do more”.
Some of the respondents to the questions responded as follows: The first caller, Mr. Emmanuel Wheahgar, calling from Fairgrounds Community responded as such: “Since the war was over in this county which company continues to be here and what have they done besides Arcelor Mittal?” he continued, “Mittal Steel was here during Ebola, they never left. They were here for Corona and still here so we need to give them the chance to stay here and work”.
Wheahgar however, warned that “the people of Grand Bassa need to take the company from politics because the company never came here to do politics”
Another caller, Mr. Reuben Zeegar said even though no member of his family works with ArcelorMittal, he is still grateful for the many work the company continues to do in Bassa and Nimba counties. He recalled how AML spent thousands of dollars last year to recondition feeder roads in Buchanan City. “The company is not government; they pay taxes and fees to government and them came back to fix roads all around here”, he added.
Mamie Kangar a fish vendor in Buchanan’s general market said she was happy that her sister’s son recently benefited from the AML advanced international scholarship to study abroad. She narrated: “The people who talking about Mittal leaving must be aware that ArcelorMittal is the only company giving jobs to us here”.
Mamie added: “Since our husbands left jobs when BRE decided to leave, they have no work to do and all of us are passing around so if you tell Mittal to leave who you will give jobs?”
There were a total of twenty-three (23) callers on the show hosted by presenter Alexander Musa who permitted all the callers to speak in the local Bassa vernacular.
Seventeen of them supported AML to remain in Liberia, as according to them the company is doing well.
One of the callers went on to mention previous reports that AML has paid all her dues and that the company has no outstanding financial obligation to Liberia, despite the global decline in commodity prices.
This caller who was identified as Emmanuel Joe also indicated that the government and local authorities must show what has been done with the money provided by AML for corporate social responsibility.
Recently, the Project Management Committee (PMC) of Grand Bassa disclosed that as part of AML’s agreement with the government to allow 20% of its Corporate Social Reasonability funding go directly to affected communities, the PMC was implementing six different projects just in Wee Statutory District alone.
Some of the projects include fencing of Gorblee High School, Expansion of the Wee Radio Station facility, construction of bridges and community town halls etc. These are all projects considered by the community as important for their well-being.
Residents of Buchanan and other towns and villages in Grand Bassa County stand to benefit a lot from ArcelorMittal Phase II Expansion, including the increase in County Development Fund, healthcare delivery, education, additional jobs, and a lot more.
The phase two expansion will see the construction of an iron ore concentrator plant that would improve the quality of Liberia’s iron ore on the global market; and would correspondingly increase payments to the Government of Liberia, for the benefit of all Liberians.
The expansion requires an additional investment of about US$1.2billion in Liberia, out of which, US$200 million would be dedicated to building an additional capacity of the Yekepa – Buchanan railway and the Buchanan Port.
In this its expansion efforts, ArcelorMittal plans to invest heavily in upgrading cargo handling capacity at the Port of Buchanan which would trigger additional revenue for the Government of Liberia and increase employment at the Port of Buchanan.