By Stephen G. Fellajuah
The Management of ArcelorMittal Liberia Limited, a major concessionaire in the mining sector of the economy has said it has made more investment that have impacted on the socio-economic development in the country since its establishment in the country in 2005 and has succeeded in sending out a clear message that Liberia was saved and ready to do business after the war ended in 2003.
The assertion was made last Friday, November 19, 2021, when the Communication Team of the ArcelorMittal Liberia, Marcus Wleh was hosted by the Center for Exchange of Intellectual Opinions (CEIO) on Carey Street in Central Monrovia, under the topic, “The Gains of ArcelorMittal’s Partnership in Liberia.
As part of ArcelorMittal’s Outreach, Mr. Wleh made the statement Friday, November 19, when the Communication Team of ArcelorMittal Liberia was hosted by the Center for the Exchange of Intellectual Opinions (CEIO) on Carey Street in central Monrovia, under the Topic “The Gains of ArcelorMittal’s Partnership in Liberia.”
When asked about the economic impact of ArcelorMittal investment in Liberia, Mr. Wleh said since 2005, the steel giant has been paying US$35m annually as tax revenue to the Government of Liberia, and the new investment, he noted will put ArcelorMittal tax revenue at US$75m. He added that the company has made over US$300m direct payment to the Government of Liberia and that in terms of jobs the company has provided over 3,000 real paying jobs.
Mr. Wleh told the audience at CEIO that there are several businesses in Liberia which actually took hold of the presence of ArcelorMittal and made tremendous progress especially in Grand Bassa and Nimba counties that ArcelorMittal provided capacity building training for them.
Talking about additional benefits, he pointed out that just after the war particularly when ArcelorMittal replaced LIMCO most of the people trained by LIMCO went away during the war and so it took ArcelorMittal time to train experts which at that time triggered the need for foreign brains in the employ of the company. But now, he said, that has gone down, adding that there are trained, qualified and competent Liberians who are serving in different capacities at ArcelorMittal.
“Now when you look at the over 3,000 employees at ArcelorMittal, about 67% of the senior management are Liberians. There are nine persons that we have, three expatriates and six Liberians. That means that Liberians are playing major roles in ensuring that the benefits that are supposed to come to the country in terms of human resources development happens.
“We provide advanced scholarships, the government in its wisdom signed an agreement with ArcelorMittal to train Liberians that will take over these jobs that foreigners are doing in a couple of years, we agreed to that. So the government says every year make sure you provide US$200, 000 worth of scholarships in areas that are critical to the mining sector and to the development of Liberia. We have sent people to India, Uganda, Kenya amongst other countries”, while indicating that the first Agriculture Minister in the ruling CDC government, Mogana S. Flomo is a beneficiary of the ArcelorMittal scholarship drives.
Mr. Wleh, accompanied by Mr. Winston Daryoue, Communication Manager, said that ArcelorMittal signed an agreement with the government where the company established a Community Development Fund to provide US$3m annually. He said for the use of the fund, ArcelorMittal collaborates with the Liberian government and communities in the concession areas for direct investment purposes by implementing projects. To date, he averred that ArcelorMittal has spent up to US$ 47m for direct development in Nimba, Grand Bassa and Bong counties.
Mr Wleh, who took his time to explain to the audience at the intellectual center, further said in addition to what ArcelorMittal was providing, it took interest in road connectivity in which the company provided US$40m to pave the road from Ganta City to Yekepa, Nimba County which he said will be completed in 2022.
Also, for corporate responsibility, he emphasized that, “ArcelorMittal has provided over US$2m in various activities. “Just today we announced our sponsorship for the National County Meet. We provided US$120,000. We support the successful holding of the County Meet. Above that, every year we support our counties to help them prepare”, Mr. Wleh said, adding that across the railroad, ArcelorMittal has provided water sources for the communities.