GRAND BASSA-Citizens in Grand Bassa’s Forth Electoral District say ArcelorMittal’s latest community engagement drive is an honor and a recognition of their role as owners of the land.
The citizens of District #4 which is popularly known as “Wee-Statutory District” believe that ArcelorMittal was now playing a key role in building a strong community relationship by engaging them through their own local civil society groups.
They told two separate town hall meetings on Compound Three and in Barseegiah Town that the recent community engagement will create not only a way to improve local communities’ benefits from the concession, but also boost AML’s employee morale, loyalty, and brand reputation.
A local CSO-Citizens United to Server Humanity (CUSH) is creating awareness on ArcelorMittal Phase Town Expansion and the benefits therein for local communities especially those directly affected.
Seihn, Compound Three, Glow Town, Barseegiah and St. John are some of the towns in Grand Bassa that are directly benefiting from the company’s 20% corporate social development allotment due to their proximity to AML’s operational area.
At one of CUSH’s town halls in Wayzohn City on Compound Three, dozens of community leaders in attendance thanked AML for agreeing to allot 20% of its social development payment to them.
“It is bringing more visible projects in the communities. All we need to do is to use it wisely and ensure it benefits all of us,” said Joe Payegar, the Statutory District Superintendent.
Youth & Students representatives who spoke at the gathering praised the company for fencing the Gorblee School through the 20% allotment and at the same time appealed for modern science laboratories, and technical and or vocational institutions in Wee Statutory District to mostly train young people.
At current, there are seven projects ranging from clinics, school, major infrastructure upgrades like extension of the Wee-Radio station that are all financed from AML’s 20% allocation.
“We cannot be enemies to the company,” one elderly man who identified himself as Uncle James told the meeting in Barseehiah Town
“I have my older brother’s son in Yekepa who works for Mittal Steel so it is not possible for me and my poor family to say Mittal should go because Christmas coming, and I expect him to send small things for us like he usually does”
“ALL we want is that whatever the company gives should reach us the poor people and not people for whom it is not intended”.
Throughout its stay in Liberia, ArcelorMittal has continued to deliver tangible benefits to the whole county and most importantly, the communities that are concerned with its operations.
For example, AML is constructing the first-ever public health facility in Gbarpa, Nimba. The company has helped renovate and GW Harley Hospital in Sanniquellie and provided $US40 Million for the pavement of the Ganta-Yekepa Road all in Nimba.
ArcelorMittal has continuously directed support to the areas of education, and healthcare and infrastructure- with the provision of local and international scholarships, repair of hundreds of kilometers of roads as well as making sure people have safe drinking water.
Citizen United to serve Humanity told the locals that when given the chance and fully supported by the people of Liberia, ArcelorMittal has the capacity to deliver higher levels of job satisfaction for employees who are already working and those who want to work.
The group said the Phase Two Expansion will enable the company to make a positive difference in the communities that “feel the impact of its work on a daily basis”.
Said Samuel Tobey the lead campaigner for CUSH: “small businesses here will benefit from this Phase two expansion because some will take contacts to maybe cook, to supply stationaries, truck services, and this will enhance their financial standing and create a new network of potential customers or future”,
ArcelorMittal’s phase Two Expansion will see the construction of an iron ore processing plant in Yekepa with an annual production capacity increased to 30 million tons.