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 of which are construction 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 $US 400,000 (four hundred thousand) in total cost for the period of two years of social development fund payment by ArcelorMittal Liberia to Wee-Statutory District alone.
The cost of each of the ongoing projects in Wee-District is as follows: Project Name: Duewein Market$US16, 500, FDA Market $US16, 780, Gorblee School Fencing $ Cost: $US 98,000, Siah Elementary School $US153, 000, Wee Radio extension, Teacher Quarter $US88, 000, Maternity Home, etc.
The costs of each project was made available by the Grand Bassa County Project Management Committee
These projects come are the function of a special district sitting as required for by a memorandum of understanding 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 way of showing commitment to ensure completion of the project.
This comes after ArcelorMittal and the government of Liberia 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 operations despite the fact that the company has over the years paid more than $US45 million in social development funds to the government.
Edwin Weljay, the Mayor of Wayzohn City in 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 of 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.
For his part, the chairman of Grand Bassa’s Project Management Committee (PMC) Moses Henry said the projects in Wee Statutory District are been implemented due to the collective decision of the people in consultation of ArcelorMittal and the county leadership.
Henry noted that said other development projects funded by the ArcelorMittal’s finances are ongoing 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 a lot the 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 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.