EDITORIAL: Paying keen attention to the Revised AML Deal is of Necessity

WHEN THE GOVERNMENT of Liberia and ArcelorMittal-Liberia signed what is certainly an unforgettably rewarding Agreement in Liberia’s post-war history, miasma of jubilation engulfed almost the entire citizenry far and near simply because Liberians, no matter where they are, had come to the realization that their Government was on the right trajectory of acting in their best interest.  For them, signing such a monumental Agreement was the most perfect way of finding solutions to the countless difficult challenges still threatening the nation in the areas of education, economy, health, human capital development, and agriculture. Yes, let it be seen that is the intent of the Revised MDA which is now shelved primarily for obvious reasons.

 WITH NO LIGHT at the end of the tunnel to date, less the draftsmen of the current dysfunctional status of the Revised MDA forget that the Infrastructural Development so much so desired by Liberians for their country is only attainable when certain basic actions are taken, when real political will is developed by state actors, and when politics and self-seeking ambitions are quenched in favor of the nationhood and patriotism. Being aware that Liberia’s problems are hugely elephantine only presents the strong need for urgent action in addressing the issues that matter most, some of which the Revised Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) surely portends to deal with. In as much as no human has absolute perfections, so it should be understood that no works proffered by mankind will breathe any air without an ounce of pong; but the way out is mustering of courage to carry on adequate evisceration.

AS AWARE WE are already, the Revised MDA which has an accompanying financial benefit of US$800,000 000 (Eight Hundred Million) for the three beneficial counties has since hit the rock – in that the National Legislature chose the path of rejecting it against the WILL of the majority of Liberians who called for its approval. Granted that it is within the constitutional limits of the lawmakers to reject or approve, but lest we forget that their actions can often be likened to the hunchback man scenario, wherein he wants to see how another colleague of his is buried so that he knows how he would also be buried tomorrow. This is to say that if truly there are issues with the MDA for which it is not yet given the green light, those issues must be given urgent attention now in order to set the Agreement into motion, rather than getting rid of it completely.

AFTER MONTHS OF still-action on the Revised MDA, there is no further argument about the completeness of time for both parties including the Government and Mittal Steel to rekindle and reawaken the lifelessness surrounding it (MDA which is lingering in the dire need for socio-economic and infrastructural resuscitation) for the good of the country. It is too concerning the lack of enthusiasm amongst various stakeholders to rejuvenate discussions on the life of the MDA, other than what we see as an implicit display of fanaticism by those whose sole conviction is to throw the entire deal into interminable oblivion – an action that only undermines efforts toward encouraging other international investors to tap into the country’s burgeoning investment platform. Of course, when President George Manneh Weah is propagating the message of Liberia’s readiness and openness for business, then conditions with current concessionaires on the ground must represent the reality of the President’s message.

 THAT PRESIDENT WEAH continues to orate such a positive message means that the right thing is done to protect the greater interest of concessionaires on whom the country depends to advance the economic well-being of citizens through employment opportunities. It is against the backdrop we are overemphasizing the importance of paying key attention to the Revised MDA with ArcelorMittal so that we don’t have a repeat of Sime Darby’s departure experience, of which Liberia is still struggling to find the correct footing. Liberia, as a country, cannot continue to be chained by its leaders in ways that are so asymmetrical to current international standards. Considering that the country cannot operate in isolation of international standards, we urge the National Legislature to exercise a great deal of prudence in finding a solution to the Revised MDA debacle, without which Liberia could experience some excruciating setbacks. INDEED, PAYING KEY ATTENTION TO THE REVISED MDA BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND ARCELORMITTAL-LIBERIA IS OF NECESSITY, WE PLEAD.

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