“Invest Arcelormittal’s Millions In Education” –Nimba University Executives plead with County Leadership


The leadership of the College of Engineering and Geo-Sciences at Nimba University has pleaded with their county leadership to invest a significant portion of the US$1.3 million ArcelorMittal social development fund to build the capacities of young people.

   Speaking to a team of journalists who visited the company over the weekend, the Associate Dean of College of Engineering and Geo-Sciences, Emmanuel Donseah, noted that the leaders of Nimba County must consider technical education as the foundation for development and innovation that can deliver inclusive development

   He said the youth of Nimba County has over the years demonstrated commitment to venture into science and technology, but poor funding and meager support to the school has slowed its operation.

   “In every setting, there is an area of concentration, and when you look at the youth of Nimba the highest number of students always come from the sciences.

   “From the establishment of this school, it has been science-oriented because we have concessions all around us, so the youths see job opportunity in the sciences,” Donseah said.

   Through its mineral development agreement (MDA) with the government, ArcelorMittal Liberia has been supporting the geology and mining departments of Nimba University, providing up to US$50,000 annually.

   According to the associate dean, the amount is insufficient and therefore pleaded with other concessions in the county to contribute to the budget of the school.

   “We appreciate the US$50,000 contribution of AML a whole lot, but to be honest this is very insufficient and is just a drop in the bucket,” he added.

  He said he wants AML to also support the county directly, as it is doing with several communities with the improvement of the geology lab, as well as faculty development.

   Donseah said he thinks the county leadership of Nimba has the biggest responsibility in terms of ensuring that the university is fully supported, to the greater benefit of the county.

   In strong words, he contended that one of the best ways that the county social development fund that ArcelorMittal gives can assist and make an impact is by educating “your children” to take over the mantle of authority on the mine.

   “If you do not train your own people and the people go a bring Ghanaians, why do you complain because your people are not trained”.

   Nimba County authorities, he claimed, are not even thinking of supporting the TVET program established by the university, which concentrates on giving skills to young people who have not completed high school.

   Said Donseah, “We want them to pump more money in the TVET program so that school dropouts can be trained to become middle-level technicians on the mine.

   “It is sad that they are not looking at these things and are always going into the center part of the bush to build clinics. Who are those clinics impacting?

   “You don’t want to develop your citizens?” he asked in a frustrating tone.

   Located in Sanniquellie City, the Nimba University, formerly the Nimba County Community College, is the only higher learning institution, next to the University of Liberia, to offer degrees in mining and geology, two areas that are key to staff development of mining concessions, like ArcelorMittal.

   The funding gap and lack of attention and support from county authorities could impair the realization of its dreams and aspirations given that money set aside for education in Nimba is regularly squandered or mismanaged.

   The directors of departments of Mining and Geology also expressed similar concerns that staff development and funding gap at the university are the most outstanding challenges that pose a direct threat to its survival.

Geology and Mining engineering lab at Nimba University

   Over the past 16 years, ArcelorMittal Liberia has been one of Liberia’s biggest revenue contributors for the country’s post-conflict recovery and national development programs, by paying a combined total of more than US$45 million in County Social Development Funds.

   This payment is consistent with the provision of the government of Liberia’s Mineral Development Agreement agreed with the global steel giant, for which the company pause a whopping US$1.3 Million, US$1 million and US$500,000 to Nimba, Grand Bassa and Bong counties, respectively.

   This payment, according to the MDA, is to help with social development issues like education, hospitals, roads, etc. in counties affected by the operation of the ArcelorMittal mining activities.

   Quite sadly, this money has not practically been utilized for the benefit of ordinary people, especially those who dwell in towns and villages in Grand Bassa and Nimba counties, as dozens of reports have shown verifiable evidence of fraud and gross mismanagement of the money by officials.

   The civil society organization, Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), has well documented this mismanagement for over a decade in different reports, claiming that millions of dollars in CSDF have been either stolen or misapplied by county officials, especially lawmakers. Nimba County, where ArcelorMittal does its mining, is no exception.

   A General Auditing Commission (GAC) finding of 2021 uncovered several discrepancies and unorthodox financial practices in the application of the Nimba County Development Fund in the tone of US$800,000 between 2011 and 2013.

   Amongst the many flaws, the GAC uncovered that the County Administration, during the period, was then headed by Christian D. Dagadu, former superintendent, Clinton G. Layweh, Project Management Committee Chairman, Edith GongloeWeh, former Superintendent Patrick LuoganLah, and Shirley Browne, PMC Treasurer; and they failed to disclose additional funds and violated the Public Procurement Concession Commission Act in the awarding of contracts.

   This cuts across to counties like Bong and Grand Bassa, where lawmakers have allegedly personally directed social development funding to construct their political offices against the wishes of the people who elected them.

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