What More Should AML Do?
By: Hoe’u Kabouto
MONROVIA-Any global book on attracting Direct Foreign Investment (DFI) into a country will always remind you that the latter (DFI) is a very hectic and serious competing priority loaded with all the traditional “dos and don’ts,”
The best obvious areas begin with an enabling environment because money finds great pleasure and maximum suitability where security is proactively at its very best; where the judiciary system is credible and robust without cherry-picking and where the host partner is receptive, carefully, understandingly respectful and sincerely, without any form of clandestine wavering with hidden motive rather strictly out for a win-win venture-while the host openly cooperates to enable the partner(investor) to operate for the production of the collective win-win objective.
At the same time, mutual partnership firmly relied on trust marched with genuine action fed deeply on embedded confidence. But why has the Congress for Democratic Change’s (CDC’s) government for the past five years failed to attract one direct foreign investment, despite the loaded declaration by President George M. Weah that his government is business friendly and that the country was ready for business and challenged foreign investors to take advantage of the well-suited business climate.
Ironically, besides the only inherited direct foreign investment now still on the ground, instead of embracing wholeheartedly, and working assiduously with it as a clear partner wherein Liberia will accrue its maximum benefits from its shared resources with a dependable partner for win-win achievements, it’s playing all sorts of stunts.
For the ratification of ArcelorMittal-Liberia ‘s (AML’s) Third Mineral Development Agreement (NDA) saddled with the chronic bottleneck and red tape imposed along the route by the government, and in spite AML’s opened-hearted cooperation, contributions, and the improvement of the ailing economy, not much is going on to work on it.
Right now, AML bas been boosting the employment rate in the country, while bringing in more advanced technology in the mining industry and re-vamping the Sea Port of Buchanan to the status of modernization with an emphasis on state-of-the-art equipment driven its desire.
Apart from not only adhering to its social an corporate obligation responsibility to the government and the countries of its operations; is also involved in the community development of projects such as the construction and renovation of schools, roads, bridges, and clinics, just to name a few apart from being the lead sponsor for the just-ended County Sports Meet, Liberians are now seriously asking what more should AML do to prove its sincerity at the level of its share of maintaining the partnership?
Mr. Mittal (L) and president Weah(R)
According to them, what seems to be insincerity on the part of the government has become so bad that it’s damaging our international image and standing and by extension, quietly delaying or total denial in respecting and truly upholding the spirit and not stabbing corporate partner in the back which has sent a frustrating mixed-signals in attracting direct foreign investment globally.
A senior citizen, who with his community has immensely benefitted from AML’s numerous contributions coupled with goodwill which have also impacted the children directly between community dwellers and ‘Mammy Water”. One day some community dwellers including the community chief discovered the ‘Mammy Water” on the shore of a river quietly combing her very long and beautiful hair; on their quest to capture her, she quickly escaped hurriedly and jumped into the river leaving behind her most precious comb made of solid diamond of her most highest grade. Knowing what the comb meant to her, they took away the comb and departed.
A few days later, she appears to the community chief to get back her comb, but out of common understanding, she was told what to do to retrieve her most precious comb.
As a bargaining chip, they used it (comb) to request everything they wanted to develop their once-raw community into a golden place. Considering the precious value of the comb which they didn’t want to lose, they gave her a sifter to bring them water fill in it and her comb would be returned to her. After struggling immensely but frustratingly without being able to obtain the water in the sifter, she dashed it on the ground and quit. Then he pitifully concluded on this note: “pray that the third ratification of AML’s MDA does not end like the “Mammy Water’s saga.”
Meanwhile, those into this should stop treating the ratification of the third AML’s MDA as a very dangerous taboo because the sober reality borders on the people’s bread and butter status, and as the people’s leader, where your greatest concern and commitment must be to ensure, it’s not treated as pure poison for your craving people who are struggling desperately to barely keep their noses above the water to avoid sinking.
Without any further hesitation, we urged the President to break the current impasse, listen and act by buying into what the people including his finance minister are propounding.
Accordingly, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah has described AML’S US$800 million agreement as a good deal that will help the government to transform the energy sector. Tweah added that the government’s agreement with AML is a “significant improvement to an existing contract” that will enable the company to contribute to the shared cost of energy
It is critical, according to him for the Legislature to pass the agreement so that AML can expand its mining operations by building a massive processing plant in Nimba which will require an enormous power supply from the Corte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Lone, and Guinea (CLSG) line and help government shoulder energy cost
He warned that for the next nine (9) years, no other company will be able to use the Buchanan-Yekepa railway if the legislature fails to pass the AML MDA before it; arguing that the agreement was well negotiated by some of the best experts in the sector.
AML governmental Affairs manager receives a prize from the Investment Commission boss as the highest task payer mining. company 2022
Minister Tweah noted that “AML has exclusive right over the rail in the current agreement, and for the next nine years, no one else will be able to use it”. He continued, “for the government to bring anyone else to use the rail according to the agreement, AML has to agree”, adding “that’s what is in the law.”, he stressed, and cautions that Liberia must handle the new AML agreement with care and if the legislators refuse to pass the amended Agreement which is before them, the company could ask for an extension after tits remaining years.
Again, former Montserrado County Senatorial Candidate Shiekh Al Moustapha Kayateh cautioned President George M. Weanh’s agreement. He told the system that the Liberian people are not interested in vain projects, but are concerned about a major improvement in the economic activities that can put food on the tables.
Urging the President and his officials to see the US$1billion AML agreement as an opportunity to advance economic development and alleviate the Liberian people from abject poverty could also encourage other international partners to come over, because when they talk about investment in Liberia, AML is the only company that other foreign investors will contact, and they will tell them the kind of government they are about to deal with. So, please see a reason to pass this MDA. What else should AML do again?