“Without Good Roads Our People Cannot Be Connected”

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President Weah makes brief remark at the follow up visit in Ganta

President presses ArcelorMittal for Ganta-Yekepa Road

During his his working visit to Nimba County yesterday, June 11, President George Weah told officials of Arcelor Mittal that road connectivity is essential component of development, “because without good road network in the country, the people cannot be connected.”

Weah said this when he paid a follow-up visit to the construction site of the Ganta-Yekepa highway, which the pavement work had been in limbo for years between the contractor CSE and the fund provider, ArcelorMittal.

The standstill of the road work is something that has been troubling citizens since ArclorMittal made the  commitment in 2007 to construct the stretch of road as a birthday gift to former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

ArcelorMittal has blamed the delay to pave the road to the 2008 global economic meltdown and, in 2012, the company said the money for the construction of the road was given to the government, after some Nimbaians under the banner Concerned Nimbaians sought to know the cause for the delay to commence the work.

After the Senegalese road construction firm “Compagnie Saheliemae D’Enterprises (CSE), won the bid to carry on the construction, it was a big relief in the county, but the project subsequently died down, because of the government’s failure to remit money into CSE account, indicating that Arcelor Mittal did not release the money.

Prior to President Weah’s visit yesterday, news had been filtering in Nimba that the government was pressing ArcelorMittal to commit to its promise and ensure that the money for the construction is available.

CSE managers making remarks, as President Weah looks on

President Weah in his opening statement apologized to ArcelorMittal, saying the government’s action was not meant to go against the management, but to make sure that they do not renege on what they said, they will do.

He said coming to the construction of the road was not an easy discussion, but they will all be happy when the road is done.

“During our campaign, we promised to connect the hinterland to the rest of the country, especially the urban areas and this is what we are going to do,” he said.

President Weah boasted of his government doing something worthy during the five months period, by keeping up to his campaign promises. “Although it has not been easy, it’s worth it,” he said.

The president and his entourage entered Ganta on what could be described as his first visit after he became President of Liberia.

He was highly received by citizens, led by Senator Prince Y. Johnson, including nearly all the members of the 54th Legislative Caucus, Supt. David Dorr Cooper, chiefs, elders as well as various groups of women organizations and the student body.

He dedicated the newly constructed streets in Ganta before heading to the Sanniquellie Highway, where the CSE has one of its rock crushers.

ArcelorMittal was represented by Mr. Joe Matthew, along with managers of CSE, but none could give the actual cost of the project when the question was posed. However, on a local radio morning show, County Inspector Reginald Mehn put the cost at US$40 million.

Joe Matthew, who proxied for the CEO of ArcelorMittal, Boleleo Botalo, assured the President of remaining committed to the completion of the road, within the time frame mentioned.

“Arcelor Mittal cannot take our grade “A” Iron Ore and leave our people with nothing to benefit, so we are happy for the road project and thank you ever so much Mr. President,” said Senator Johnson.

4 COMMENTS

  1. “The standstill of the road work is something that has been troubling citizens since ArclorMittal made the commitment in 2007 to construct the stretch of road as a birthday gift to former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.”

    Really??? Is it the responsibility of ArcelorMittal to construct roads? Should a company really commit to construct roads for a president as a gift ? When will GOL be responsible? I do understand that if the company was using the road and wearing it , tax or fees should be apply for maintenance.

    The fact here is that it is the government’s responsibility unless otherwise stated in a contract clause as part of a concession deal and the company gets some form of discount/benefits for this.

    “Arcelor Mittal cannot take our grade “A” Iron Ore and leave our people with nothing to benefit, so we are happy for the road project and thank you ever so much Mr. President,”
    On the other hand, this company has no interest in Liberia other than exploiting it’s resources and Prince Johnson should know that better than anyone.

  2. “the project subsequently died down, because of the government’s failure to remit money into CSE account, indicating that Arcelor Mittal did not release the money.” Because Arcelor Mittal did not release the money into the government’s account does not mean the government should not remit or reimburse CSE for work done.

    Please follow this procedure and everything else will fall in place:
    1. CSE is to perform a portion of the work every month (using its own funds), upon completion of the work, submit an application for payment to the government for the expenses incurred for said portion of work.
    2. Government evaluates the portion of completed work, evaluate the expenses, if certified, make payment to CSE for the completed work less retainage (for unforeseen bad workmanship or incomplete work).
    3. The government then request for reimbursement for funds paid to CSE from Arcelor Mittal for the completed portion of the work.
    4. The government then deposit the reimbursement into the appropriate account.
    REMEMBER: This is a monthly recurring procedure until the project is fully completed, inspected and accepted by the government and then a full payment is made to CSE including all retainage follow by the request for final reimbursement from Arcelor Mittal to the government of Liberia.
    This is what we call project control. Following this procedure ensures that CSE will perform and complete its work before they are fully paid and avoid the misapplication of the allotted funds for this project. This leaves everybody certifies when the project is completed.

    Call me John Doe, you are so right. It is the GOL responsibility to build roads for its people. We can not hold Arcelor Mittal responsible to build roads because they are mining in Nimba. Arcelor Mittal has provided funds as part of its social responsibility to the counties of Nimba and Grand Bassa. Remember?

    • what guarantee do we have as Nimbaian when Arcelor Mittal offer the Ganta- Yekepa road as a gift to someone who is not from the County.Maybe the receiver of the gift want the cast instill of road which the receiver will not benefit from.

  3. We Liberians don’t give a hoot about infrastructural development; for instance, President Felix Houpghet Boigny was building roads everywhere while his colleague in Liberia was carousing on a luxury yacht around the world. No wonder instead of keeping eye on the benefits of roads, some Liberians are focused on their political impact in 2023. They would rather arrest development based on elections’ calculations – bloody nonsense!

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