At Council Sitting: Nimba County Authorities Acknowledge AML Contributions

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On August 22, 2022 the Nimba County Legislative Caucus, local county authorities and citizens held a county council sitting that brought together all the members of the caucus and delegates.

   At the council sitting, a resolution was passed for project implementation across the nine electoral districts of Nimba, a process witnessed by civil society organizations (CSOs), including the media.

   Over US$2.7 million, a sum hugely contributed by ArcelorMittal through its corporate social responsibility, was approved and allocated for projects in the various districts. Each year, ArcelorMittal pays US$1.5 million to Nimba County for social benefit.

   After the conduct of the county sitting, the Project Management Committee (PMC) was charged with the responsibility of managing the County Social Development Funds (CSDF) void of AML involvement and in line with government regulations.

   But in Nimba and other places, local media continue to account that the impact of the county’s social development fund provided by ArcelorMittal has not delivered on its promise of changing lives and helping communities face social challenges.

   There are mounting concerns by citizens that communities directly impacted by the work of ArcelorMittal do not benefit from their county social development fund, which is exclusively managed by county authorities.

   On the sideline of the recent county sitting, a number of citizens quietly raised these concerns and asked the county’s leadership to reverse course.

   Comparatively, at US$10.5 million per year, the numbers would suggest that, over ten years, the company would have paid $15 million in corporate social responsibility just to Nimba alone, even though the figure was higher in pre-Ebola and COVID times and prior to the slum of ore prices.

   Despite this huge payment, the company goes beyond to further demonstrates its long term commitment to the people of Liberia by directly engaging into community development services.

   For Example, AML is singlehandedly constructing the Zolowee Public School, and recently helped to renovate the GW Harley Hospital in Sanniquellie.

   In 2021, the company embarked on the massive distribution of education supplies to forty-eight schools in communities nearest its operations to help support the education of students and ease the financial burdens of parents when it comes to the purchase of school materials for their children.

   In line with its mineral development agreement, AML provides financial support to what is now the Nimba University on a yearly basis, while it is funding the entire pavement of the Ganta-Yekepa highway.

   The town of Lugbeyee, Nimba County, was gripped with festivities last Thursday when nearly one thousand excited residents of the area, dressed in starched traditional festive costumes, with customary horns and samba drums belted out melodious tunes, and welcomed Jozephus Coenen, Chief Executive Officer of ArcelorMittal Liberia to the town for community assistance.

   This was after ArcelorMittal Liberia broke ground for the construction of a community town hall and football pitch in Camp-Four Township, Yekepa.

   The combined estimated value of both projects is US$100,000. That’s just to name a few.

   As AML expands its operation in the on-going Phase II project, these communities stand to benefit a lot more in terms of community projects, jobs and small business development initiatives.

   This is why many people in Nimba continue to call for transparency in the utilization of the US$1.5 million the company normally gives the county to help ease challenges.

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