ArcelorMittal Launches US$840K Development Fund for Affected Communities in 3 Counties

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Staff of ArcelorMittal and members fo the House of Representatives at the launch of the Community Development Fund

ArcelorMittal Liberia has for the first time launched, after over 14 years of mining operations in the country, Community Fund Development (CDF) for affected communities in three (3) counties; namely, Bong, Bassa and Nimba Counties.

The development fund was launched on Wednesday, August 19 in the conference room of the Capitol Building annex.

Those in attendance were the Legislative Caucuses of Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa counties; Internal Minister Varney Sirleaf; Mines and Energy Minister Gesler Murray, as well as the Superintendents of Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties.

The CDF is 20% of the County Social Development Fund (CSDF) and has been earmarked for beneficiary communities in proximity to the company’s operational areas.

The initial support of the CDF is US$840,000, which will be disbursed between August 2020 and July 2021 to people living a in communities of impact within the vicinity of the iron mine, port and along the length of the railroad from ArcelorMittal Liberia’s iron ore mines in Nimba County  through Bong County to the port of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

Mr. Marcus Wleh, the company’s Head of Government Relations, said ArcelorMittal is required to pay annually US$3 million as social developments in Bong, Bassa and Nimba counties and, in 2020, the Liberian government and ArcelorMittal Liberia agreed that the company shall pay 20% of the CSDF to the affected communities in its operational areas while the remaining 80% be paid to the Government on behalf of the beneficiary counties.

“The Community Development Fund will provide US$840,000 to support development projects in 2020. The projects are divided into six categories: agriculture; education; road and bridges; water, health and hygiene; community cohesion and peacebuilding; and housing,” Mr. Wleh said.

According to Mr. Wleh, the selection of the projects will be done by the District sitting, where up to 20 people from the beneficiary community meet to prioritize and select their projects. The district sittings will be chaired by the District Superintendent and the District Representative in the Legislature.

“There will be a County Approval Committee to approve all projects selected by the District Sittings. The County Superintendent chairs the County Approval Committee, and ArcelorMittal Liberia manages all contracts for goods and services and disburses payments as per stipulations in contracts,” Mr. Wleh indicated.

Separately, Representative Joseph Somwarbi spoke on behalf of Nimba Legislative Caucus; Rep. Albert Hill, on behalf of the Bong Caucus and then Vincent Willie for the Grand Bassa Caucus,  expressing their thanks and appreciation to ArcelorMittal Liberia and the Government for not fighting against the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) that called for 20% to be directly disbursed to affected communities in the mining operational areas.

Minister Murray formally launched the CDF, while Minister Sirleaf urged ArcelorMittal Liberia, the Caucuses and the local authorities to live up their respective commitments.

Author

  • I am a Liberian journalist, born November 7 and hailed from the Southeast and of the kru tribe. I began contributing to the Daily Observer 2008 and was fully employed in 2012. I am the 3rd of eight children and named after my great grandfather. Am happily married with three children (girls). I am a full member of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and also the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) and the Legislative Press Pool (LEGISPOL). I can be contacted through email: [email protected] or cell number/WhatsApp: (+231) 0886585875 or Facebook.

4 COMMENTS

    • What ? You do ? Well, according to the article, “and ArcelorMittal Liberia manages all contracts for goods and services and disburses payments as per stipulations in contracts”. Don’t think that any money will directly be handled by the people who continue to sit and allowed the lawmakers at the House of Laws to come in and sit as local legislative caucuse, just to steal the money provided by the company. Leaving the citizens with nothing. And forcing them to become confrontational with the company. Now it seemed that the iron ore company has had enough and is fed up, and taking matters into its own hands. In order to carry out the development projects in the contracts approved by the officials of the county. Seems like the company wants to operate as a country with in a country to do directly for the citizens, because the people’s government cannot be trusted to deliver on the financial resources given to them by the company. The company is planning to manage the contracts and its goods and services as written in the contracts. Almost a million US dollars to corrupt local legislative caucus leaders, in this elections season ? Not going to happen. No money to the people ooooooooooooooo. Only for them to come back and make more demands, after their lawmakers have stolen from them ? No money ooooooooooooo.

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