"Good Journalism Makes Democracy Works"

When Advocacy Turns Mercenarism – The Case With A Hired News Website “Liberian Economy”

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We are deeply saddened by the propaganda stunt being waged against Liberia’s biggest concession and taxpayer, ArcelorMittal, by the so-called “Liberian Economy”. For close to a year so far, the “Liberian Economy”, in what appears to be a proxy fight for companies with vested interests in the usage of the Yekapa to Buchanan railway and port facilities, has been peddling dangerous falsehoods about AML’s operations and the proposed third amendment to the Mineral Development Agreement between the Liberia government and ArcelorMittal.

These packaged falsehoods deliberately being spewed out by the webpage, “Liberian Economy”, if not addressed, has the potential to threaten the national security of our country by putting thousands of young Liberians out of gainful employment.

Everywhere around the world especially in developing countries, it has been historically proven that youth unemployment leads to national security crises which can take the form of a disruption of the peace of a nation. When the youth of a country are unemployed, the feeling of disappointment may lead such a person to express his anger through violence that will be directed at those he holds responsible or people who are directly or indirectly related to them, largely the government.

Since post-war, Liberia has been grappling with a high unemployment rate. The government has been taking some measures to empower our youthful population by attracting foreign direct investments to narrow the unemployment gap. ArcelorMittal, since its advent in 2005, stands as the biggest foreign direct investment and the largest taxpayer in Liberia. The company has taken thousands of families from poverty through the creation of sustainable employment for young Liberians.

Also, believing that the greatest resource of every nation is its human resource, the company has heavily invested thousands of dollars to fund the education of young highly qualified talented Liberians abroad and locally to acquire advanced knowledge in specific areas Liberia needs to address the demand of the labor market.

In September of 2021, the government of Liberia and ArcelorMittal signed a restated Mineral Development Agreement when ratified by the Legislature, will lead to an additional investment of over 1.2 billion United States Dollars into our economy by the concession giant – AML – which will also correspondently lead to the creation of over 2,000 direct new jobs and 4,000 indirect new jobs for Liberians that are already unemployed.

But since this welcoming development from the global steel giant – AML – to expand its operations and investment in Liberia, the so-called “Liberian Economy”, a propaganda webpage created in foreign domicile to front for a company with a vested interest in having access right to the Yekapa to Buchanan railway and the Buchanan port infrastructure to transport its ore has been sponsoring several media attacks packed with calculated falsehoods against a well-intentioned Mineral Development Agreement to the peril of our national security.

These dangerous lies from a propaganda webpage should be condemned and shamed or else, if we allow their deliberate lies to thrive, it will only threaten our national security as a country and people. The daily survival of thousands of Liberians and local small and medium-sized businesses depends on ArcelorMittal’s stay in Liberia. So, encouraging malicious falsehoods from the “Liberian Economy” and its sponsors against the extension of AML’s stay or investment in Liberia will only be putting over 3,000 young Liberians who are already gainfully employed with the company out of jobs. This also goes to say that if AML folds out of Liberia, bread will ultimately be taken from the tables of thousands of families and a few businesses.

As part of ArcelorMittal-Liberia’s phase two expansion, there will be the deployment of a huge number of earth-moving equipment both for the mines and construction works in Buchanan to Yekapa. To ensure this, the company will have to hire a new group of workers and contract several Liberian firms to help with its deployment of logistics as a means of empowering local Liberian businesses. And so, any slanderous propaganda from a proxy webpage – the so-called “Liberian Economy” – when given currency will only be stagnating the growth of small and medium-sized businesses in Liberia some of whom are already offering a range of services to ArcelorMittal-Liberia.

Aside from the provision of additional jobs, the phase two expansion is set to create, there will be a leap from 40 million to 80 million dollars per annum in the royalty and taxes AML pays to the government of Liberia as a support to the national budget. There will also be an increment in the amount given to Bong, Grand Bassa, and Nimba counties as social corporate responsibility funds.

These welcoming developments, no doubt, are a huge boost for our country and are not what Liberia will want to risk losing by buying into the childish tantrums being peddled on the webpage of the hired and so-called “Liberian Economy”.

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