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Thursday, July 25, 2024

US Embassy Sees More Investments As Railway Monopoly Ends

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By Festus Poquie

Transitioning Liberia’s railway industry to a multi-user rail model could lead to significant investments by multiple mining companies in the country and create
economic benefit for Liberians, the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia said in a statement.

President George Weah on October 17, 2022, signed an executive order directing the establishment of a National Railway Authority, which would appoint an independent
rail operator and ensure multiple eligible user rail access.

In response to President Weah’s policy decision to open the rail to multiple users, the Embassy has been exploring U.S. private and public sector investment options
that could directly support the Liberian government’s goals of independent, professional rail operatorship as well as broader rail access that could include cargo and
passenger service, it said.

The Americans statement was pointing to what it called “potentially misleading information purporting to represent the Embassy’s position on the above issues, put
forth by those who may favor one company’s interests over those of another.”

“It is timely and necessary to restate our long-held position that multiple corporate interests can and should be accommodated on the rail, in line with the Liberian
government’s stated policy. In this new policy environment, any deal that favors one corporate interest at the expense of others is only likely to set back the rail
and mining development process rather than move it forward through the parliamentary approval process.”

Lawmakers declined to approve its amended mineral development agreement in March 2022 citing ArcelorMittal control of seaport and railways infrastructures.
Relinquishing the facilities into government custody will enable neighboring Guinea to transport iron ore from its Zogota ore deposit.


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