While Touring Nimba, Pres. Sirleaf Pledges Support for Ganta-Yekepa Road

GOMPA, Nimba – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is making a tour to several towns around Nimba to assess development projects.

The president’s tour commenced with her participation in the 184th Session of the Liberia Annual Conference held by the United Methodist Church in Gompa on Feb. 19. Sirleaf, who is a United Methodist, serves as a chairperson for the Advanced Committee of the Liberian Annual Conference.

The president paid an assessment visit to examine the condition of the Ganta-Yekepa road. The project has been abandoned by the contracting company, Compagnie Sahélienne d’Entreprises, due to insufficient funds, causing citizens to raise concerns about the road condition ahead of the rainy season.

Nimba’s recently appointed Superintendent Dorr Cooper, who accompanied the president on the assessment, said the president’s visit concluded with concrete results.

“President Sirleaf, after her visit to see the road project at Miller Farm, ordered that the road works resume and that the Government of Liberia is now taking the responsibility to make sure that the project is complete,” Cooper said.

The agreement to pave the Ganta-Yekepa road between ArcelorMittal and the Government of Liberia was made by the 52nd National Legislature with both parties agreeing to contribute portions of the construction cost. The world steel giant had failed to provide a US$40 million contribution, as per the agreement, despite the government fulfilling its part of the deal by providing the agreed upon US$10 million.

“This was a gentleman’s agreement between ArcelorMittal and the 52nd Legislature,” Cooper added. “The Government of Liberia was to pay US$10 million for a settlement to citizens whose properties will be affected by the project. This money was paid by the government, but because ArcelorMittal did not meet up with [its] contribution, [only] this money was given to [Compagnie Sahélienne d’Entreprises] to commence the project.”

ArcelorMittal’s representatives have blamed the company’s failure to fulfill its part of the commitment on the decrease in iron ore prices in late 2014. However, iron ore prices have been steadily rising and are at a two-year high after plummeting to a record low in December 2015. ArcelorMittal itself reported profits for the 2016 calendar year, after ending 2015 at a loss.

On Monday, Feb. 20, Sirleaf was scheduled to travel to other parts of Nimba, including Bahn, Saclepea, and Graie.

“Lastly, the president will go to Graie to see the road conditions,” Cooper said, announcing Sirleaf’s itinerary. “And we will return to Ganta, and I will be taking her to the new market project to see also.”

Featured photo by Flickr’s jbdodane

Arrington Ballah

A resident of Ganta, Nimba County, Arrington has a background working with credit unions and other organizations dedicated to rural finance.

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