MONROVIA-Communities across Bong, Nimba and Grand Bassa where ArcelorMittal Liberia operates are commending the progress on the implementation of several development projects through the Community Development Fund (CDF), which reserves 20-percent of the company’s County Social Development Fund (CSDF) for direct implementation in communities of impact.
Several projects from construction of health centers, rehabilitation of community roads and bridges and other public facilities are being implemented through the CDF, to the approval of community residents and local leaders.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day youth conflict prevention and mitigation conference by ArcelorMittal Liberia held in Gbarnga over the weekend, Bong County Superintendent Esther Walker commended AML’s management for the increased level of community and social development programs which her County is excited to be benefiting from.
“Before, the County Social Development Fund (CSDF) was just packaged in one box to central government and our people could not feel the impact but thanks to the CDF, communities now have their 20-percent and are feeling the impact,” a grateful Superintendent Walker explained.
In Bong, progress is being made on the construction of three health centers in Zowienta, Gbarta, Boogborn and a Maternal Waiting Home in Rockcrusher at a total value of over four hundred twenty-two thousand United States Dollars.
Similarly, in Nimba, implementation of CDF projects in communities are on course, as per report of a recent AML technical inspection team.
The team visited communities near Mount Yuelliton including Lugbehyee and Bonlah towns where construction of four bridges is ongoing under the CDF. They include the Denyii Bridge, on the outskirts of Lugbehyee, Yiiwaa Bridge, the Payie Bridge, and Vilii the Bridge projects.
AML Estates Engineer Robert Sarwea said the contractors identified by the county’s Project Management Committee for the construction of the bridges were trying their best to implement the projects to the highest standards and in time.
As per the CDF management guidelines, it is required that AML withholds and oversees the expenditure of 20 percent of the CSDF on development projects identified by members of communities directly affected by the company’s mining operations in Bong, Nimba and Grand Bassa.
At the same time, the Superintendent of Bong County Esther Walker has called on the youth of Bong, Nimba and Grand Bassa counties to always pursue the path of peace and positive engagement with ArcelorMittal Liberia to address whatever concerns they may have.
Superintendent Walker said through dialogue and positive engagement with ArcelorMittal Liberia, Bong County and the company have been able to partner to implement many projects in the interest of communities.
“I am a grateful and a proud superintendent that under my administration dialogue with ArcelorMittal Liberia and the young people is bringing us a lot of good things. This is better than violence or blocking of the rail line,” Superintendent Walker said.