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As LRA Extols AML For Being The Largest Taxpayer – The Legislature Must Do The Needful to Ratify the Extended MDA

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By Democracy Watch News Desk

Monrovia Liberia: Over the weekend, the Liberia Revenue Authority awarded the world’s leading steel and mining company – ArcelorMittal – as the largest taxpayer in the country and for its dutiful and invaluable contribution towards the government of Liberia revenue collection efforts which in turn fund the national budget, sustain the economy, and support the country’s developmental agenda.

Thanks to the Liberia Revenue Authority for recognising the tremendous contribution of AML. What you have done inadvertently motivates the company to be more tax compliant and to give more to Liberia’s economic development.

Taxpayers deserve to be recognised for the contribution they are making to the progress of a nation by dutifully paying their due share of taxes. So, it is against this, I believe – the Liberia Revenue Authority found ample fate in appreciating ArcelorMittal-Liberia for being tax compliant, in light of the prevailing economic circumstances triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is one reason I believe the Legislature must exercise prudent and reasonable judgment to the good of our country and people by ensuring the extended Mineral Development Agreement between the government of Liberia and ArcelorMittal-Liberia is ratified.

The ratification of such agreement is to the benefit of the government, its people, and surrounding communities as it would witness a monumental leap from the amount ArcelorMittal is paying to fund the national budget and as well as social corporate responsibility to affected communities where the company is operating.

It is expected of any good lawmaking body the world over, in the judicial exercise of its responsibility, will always place or hold at the depth of their hearts, the interests of the people they represent and country over what benefits legislators only. They must pass laws that serve the good of our country and people and not what deepens their pockets and individual accounts. By this, they remain true to the fundamental principles of representative democracy or may I say good governance.

ArcelorMittal-Liberia has given more to the country than they have taken since they came in 2006. So, as the government struggles to meet the needs of our people, reach its targeted revenue projection, and deliver on the policy promises that brought it to power, the government must encourage the stay of tax-compliant investors like ArcelorMittal – noting that through the budget, they serve as important contributors to sustainable development and increasing access to opportunities, including the reduction of unemployment and inequalities in the communities in which they operate.

As we speak, AML is providing 45 million dollars per annual as support to the national budget of our country for economic development and has already created over 3,000 jobs, providing 3 million annually to communities where they are operating, sponsoring Liberian students to acquire advanced knowledge overseas in the sciences, supporting annually the Nimba Community College and many other contributions locally I cannot mention to not get you bored.

If we ratify the MDA before the legislature, with another 800 million dollars investment to be made to build a concentrator to refine the iron ores and add value to it, the government of Liberia stands to receive roughly twice the 45 million dollars AML is currently paying annually to fund the budget. Also, jobs will increase from 3,500 to close to 6,000. Affected communities that receive 3 million per annual, will receive 3.5 million – whilst the number of students selected every year to pursue advanced education overseas will increase dramatically and as well as other local opportunities to community dwellers.

As we all struggle to give life to our economy that was already in recession even before the ascendency of the current administration and now coupled with the devasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the legislature must find the moral courage and fortitude by placing degree importance and value on what benefits our country and its people other than what benefits the narrow interest of a select few.

Our country will stand to lose all the good benefits we now enjoy from ArcelorMittal and the ones we are pursed to benefit from if the agreement that has since been at the legislature is not ratified.

Do we as a nation want to end or cut short our largest taxpayer’s (AML) lifespan in our country and lose the kind of investment our nation craves for development? I am not sure we want to miss this opportunity that benefits our country and people. Hence, I urge our government to do the needful to our people, our unhealthy economy, and the future of our country and generations after us, by ratifying the extended MDA before the legislature.

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