MONROVIA-The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Hon. Nathaniel McGill is praising the amended Mineral Development Agreement of ArcelorMittal that is currently before the Legislature for ratification. Speaking yesterday, Tuesday December 28, 2021, on Radio Sehnwai in Nimba County, Minister McGill emphasized that there are lots of good things in the new amended AML MDA.
Addressing issues related to the ratification of the amended AML MDA, Minister McGill said the Government of Liberia needs ArcelorMittal. He said the Government is working to ensure that there are concrete actions on the part of AML to address concerns from Nimba and other counties where it operates. He said conditions must be improved by the company, stressing that “AML must operate in a way that our people will be happy, and we have to create conditions so our people will be able to work in harmony with the company.”
Minister McGill acknowledged concerns from citizens of Nimba County related to relocation of the G.W. Harley Hospital in Sanniquellie, improvement in housing and creation of jobs for citizens of Nimba. He said in discussions with AML, Government has insisted that Liberians will not continue to live in containers at AML and stressed that the company needs to commit to improve housing. He also mentioned AML’s commitment to the relocation of the Government hospital in Sanniquellie.
Responding to criticism from Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe about the launch of an LRD $ 50m scholarship scheme for high school students in Nimba County, Minister McGill said funding for the scholarship program is not from him personally, nor is it meant to buy votes in Nimba. He said it will be supported by goodwill individuals and institutions. According to him, he has spoken with AML to support the LRD $50m scholarship fund for Nimba and the company has promised to make some commitments.
Cllr. Gongloe who recently announced his ambition for Liberia’s presidency called on the US Government to place Minister McGill on Sanctions for corruption.
The Minster said both sides [AML and Communities] will have to win as Liberia also needs ArcelorMittal. “We can’t say that the Government will throw Mittal away. How will we raise revenue? If ArcelorMittal goes and everybody doesn’t have jobs and the iron ore remains under ground, how will it benefit our people?
The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs clarified that the Government hasn’t given the railway to ArcelorMittal. “That information is false and misleading. The railway belongs to Government. Government has absolute control.”
Speaking on the issue of jobs exclusively for people of Nimba, Minister McGill said: “Nimba Citizens are citizens of Liberia and Liberians deserve to hold some of the most senior positions at ArcelorMittal. These are part of the negotiations. The company operates not just in Nimba but Liberia, so Liberians deserve prominent jobs at ArcelorMittal.
He called on the people of Nimba to support the presence of ArcelorMittal Liberia and assured that the Government will ensure that their rights are protected, and their concerns addressed.