The administration of the Nimba County Community College (NCCC) has disclosed that the management of ArcelorMittal Liberia, the county authority as well as the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning owe the institution about US$627,000.
NCCC president Dr. Edward Lama Wonkeryor, who made the disclosure at a commencement convocation on Saturday, January 12, 2019, said ArcelorMittal is yet to meet up with an operational cost of US$50,000, which should have been given to the college every year in keeping with the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) between the company and the Liberian government.
Wonkeryor said as per the MDA, NCCC is to receive the amount of US$50,000 by virtue of the college’s proximity to the concession area, though it is located in Sanniquellie, the county’s political capital.
Dr. Wonkeryor said from 2011 up to present, it is estimated that the amount in the MDA has accumulated to US$400,000, which has led to a delay in payment and hampered the smooth running of the college.
He also added that over the past four fiscal years (2012 -2016), the county’s administration owes the college US$150,000, representing money allotted to the college by the County Council, which includes staff development fund of US$ 50,000.
Wonkeryor said financial constraint poses serious challenge to the college, which is expected to enroll more than 800 students this semester.
“The college is currently faced with a multiplicity of challenges, critical among them is finance,” Wonkeryor said.
“When I assumed office, I discovered that the coffers were almost completely empty, while the Ministry of Finance owes us the amount of US$77, 000 as “not disbursed” allotments for Fiscal Year 2017/2018,” he said.
“Accidentally, the college is also indebted to various vendors for goods and services in the amount of US$ 172,607,” Dr. Wonkeryor added.
At the occasion, Eric Swen, who represented ArcelorMittal-Liberia, assured NCCC’s administration of the company’s “willingness to begin paying the amount any time this month.”
Nimba County Superintendent David Dorr Cooper, who also responded on behalf of the government, said the county has not been able to make good its obligation to the NCCC, because the government has not deposited any money in the coffers of the college.
The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning was not represented at the ceremony.
In a related development, the college is seeking elevation to a four-year degree granting institution, though the need for quality faculty and staff is of paramount importance.
“This will obviously necessitate staff development and the need for additional resources to provide additional classrooms to accommodate the influx of students, faculty housing and dormitories,” Dr. Wonkeryor said.