ArcelorMittal Delivers 7 Projects In Wee District; More Than US$400,000 Expended

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The people of Wee Statutory District, Grand Bassa County, will shortly witness the dedication of seven community-driven projects funded by ArcelorMittal Liberia.

   The projects, which are construction in nature, includes the expansion of the Radio Wee on Compound Three, the Fencing of the Gorblee High School, the only public high school in the district, and the Richard James Junior High School in Kpou Town or the Charlie Johnson Community in Gorblee Administrative District, a market construction for FDA Community in Blezee Administrative District #3 B, Duwein General Market in Number #3B, a Teachers’ Quarter in St John Community and Boeglay Town, Gorblee Administrative District.

   These projects account for more than US$400,000 (four hundred thousand United States dollars) in total cost for the period of two years of social development fund payment by ArcelorMittal Liberia to Wee-Statutory District alone.

   The cost of each of the on-going projects in Wee-District is as follows: Project Name: Duewein Market, US$16,500; FDA Market, US$16,780; Gorblee School Fencing, US$98,000; Siah Elementary School, US$153,000; Wee Radio extension, Teachers’ Quarter, US$88,000, Maternity Home, etc.

Gorblee High School Fence project

   The cost of each project was made available by the Grand Bassa County Project Management Committee.

   These projects are the fruit of a special district sitting, as required for by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for expenditure of the segment of the Mittal social development fund.

   The framework document signed between the government and Mittal sets out the structure of a district sitting comprising the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Internal Affairs, the County Project Management Committee and other local leaders like commissioners and ordinary citizens. All projects are implemented by local registered construction firms in the county.

    ArcelorMittal controls the funding 100% and works with the Project Management Committee to prepare bid documents and make payments to contractors.

   Selected contractors commit to 25% pre-financing agreement as a way of showing commitment to ensure completion of the project.

    This comes after ArcelorMittal and the Government of Liberia (GOL) agreed to direct 20% of its social development funds to affected communities within its operational areas to make residents feel the direct impact of proceeds given to the Liberian government.

    This is owing to the lack of tangible development in the communities affected by AML’s operation despite the fact that the company has over the years paid more than US$45 million in social development fund to the government.

   Edwin Weljay, the Mayor of Wayzohn City, Wee Statutory District, thanked ArcelorMittal for forming a partnership with the government to ensure that local communities feel the “real impact of the work or ArcelorMittal”.

    “You see the expansion of the radio station and the fencing of Gorblee High School are very important to security for the students because, quite often, people intrude the campus and put the safety of children at risk,” Weljay said.

   According to him, “The expansion of the Radio station is to hear our people. You know this is the only station that we ourselves build, and to see it moving to another level is just a big joy for all of us here.”

   The Wayzohn City Mayor emphasized that, due to ArcelorMittal herself controlling the funding, the seven projects across the district are “moving fast, with no delay”, compared with other public projects.

 Wayzohn City Mayor Edwin Weljay at the Radio Wee expansion project in Gorblee

   For his part, the Chairman of Grand Bassa’s Project Management Committee (PMC), Moses Henry, said the projects in Wee Statutory District are being implemented due to the collective decision of the people, in consultation of ArcelorMittal and the county’s leadership.

   Henry noted that other development projects funded by the ArcelorMittal’s finances are on-going in parts of the county, like the ones similar to the 20% community development fund.

    In 2020, ArcelorMittal Liberia and Liberian authorities announced an agreement to allot 20% of its county development funds to communities directly affected by its operation in the Grand Bassa, Bong and Nimba counties.

   The company said it was happy that the community development fund was being launched.

   “The community development fund is the official name for the 20% of the county social development fund that ArcelorMittal has been authorized by the government to disburse directly to the communities,” said AML’s head of Government Relations, Marcus Wleh.

   AML said it believes that the community development fund signifies an excellent example of the strong partnership between the private sector and the Government of Liberia (GOL) as it is intended to promote real sustainable development within their mining areas in the country.

   Meanwhile, AML has insisted it is committed to fulfilling the purpose of the 20% to affected communities, which are to fund development projects of communities that are in its operational areas.

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