As Calm Returns to ArcelorMittal, a Reminder of the critical Role Companies Play in the Liberian Economy

Economic growth and development depend essentially on a country’s ability to invest and make efficient and productive use of its resources.

In this regard, the role of the private sector is important both in terms of its contribution to the quantity of Gross Domestic Income (GDI) and its ability to allocate and employ resources efficiently.

Private investments like ArcelorMittal as proxy for a dynamic private sector, serve as engines for job and income creation, and play a key role in the provision of both infrastructure and social services.

In countries like Liberia where there is lack of investment, production, and income to stimulate demand, there cannot be growth without some form of foreign direct investment of sufficient amount to deliver quality and good paying jobs

In fact, investments like the one offered in ArcelorMittal’s phase two expansion and its 3rd mineral development agreement where the company promises to spend up to 1.2 billion are both a result and cause of economic growth in Liberia.

Already, Liberia is faced with this critical challenge of ensuring the necessary internal conditions for mobilizing enough domestic savings to sustain adequate levels of investment in productive and human capacities.

The largest foreign investor in Liberia, ArcelorMittal Liberia has capitalized over $1.7 billion in Liberia over the past 15 years.

More than 3000 jobs are currently created in the construction phase of his expansion drive with Liberians envisaged to fill most of the roles created.

For three years running, ArcelorMittal is named the highest contributor of revenue to the budget, far more than any other private and public sector entity could do.

Of the total amount collected in national tax revenues from the mining sector of Liberia, four companies (ArcelorMittal Liberia, Bea Mountain, MNG Goal, and Hummingbird Resources) accounted for US$41,726,305 or 92.2% of total sector revenues.

It is no secret that over last 16 years now, ArcelorMittal’s investment has helped reduce the disparity between revenues and costs of goods and services and helped the government cater to social development challenged in health, education, and infrastructure.

ArcelorMittal operates a Vocational Training Centre that provides residential certificate training in mechanical and electrical trades for young Liberians and has already launched a training and development program for high potential Liberian employees who will gain on the job experience and knowledge in ArcelorMittal Mining operations globally.

Therefore, we have been concerned about the recent industrial action at AML’s facilities in Yekepa, Nimba County and in Buchanan, Grand Bassa county.

But with reports of a meeting held on Wednesday in Yekepa, where members of the ArcelorMittal Liberia worker’s union were advised by the government representatives to end their illegal strike and rather present a grievance statement to the government and give two weeks to allow them (government) respond, it is wise to note that peace at such a key concession is for the good of the entire country.

Because, without industrial peace and harmony at ArcelorMittal and other places, the government cannot achieve its promise of jobs to lift people out of poverty as stated in its Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PADP).

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