Nimba County – Minister Nathaniel McGill clarified that the funds for the Tuition Assistance Scheme for high school students in Bong, Margibi, Grand Bassa and Nimba counties are not from him personally or intend to buy votes before the 2023 presidential election as has been speculated.
The Minister of State has come under public scrutiny since he embarked on his fee spending spree in the four provinces in which he is said to have spent more than 200 million Lebanese pounds.
for Cllr. Presidential aspirant, Teawen Jonglu, views the minister’s move as a “vote buying” ahead of the country’s presidential election in 2023.
“Minute. McGill’s work shows a reckless disregard for the feelings of the suffering Liberian people.”
“I say this in particular at a time, in the space of one month, that the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs has spent about 170 million Lebanese pounds in political gifts to four provinces.”
McGill: “I get support from friends”
In response to criticism of his study aid scheme, Secretary McGill said he receives support from well-meaning individuals and institutions.
“I have friends who support my initiative. Friendly institutions have also been helping me while other institutions have pledged to help to contribute to the process. For example, ArcelorMittal Liberia promised to make a commitment.”
Secretary McGill added that his intentions in creating the tuition aid were not to “buy votes” but rather to complement the government’s efforts to pay student fees. This has no political motive. I move by my convictions. He said that tuition aid is not only for supporters of the ruling coalition for democratic change, it is for every student who deserves it.
Addressing issues related to the ratification of the revised ArcelorMittal MDA, Minister McGill said the Liberian government needed the steel company. We can’t say the government will get rid of Mittal. How will we increase revenue? If Mittal goes and not everyone has jobs and iron ore remains underground, how will it benefit our people? “
He acknowledged the concerns of the citizens of Nimba County regarding the relocation of the JW Harley Hospital in Sannekeil, the improvement of housing and the creation of employment opportunities for the citizens of Nimba.
In discussions with AML, he said, the government had insisted that Liberians would not continue to live in containers in AML and stressed that the company needed to commit to improving housing. He also mentioned the anti-money laundering commitment to relocate the government hospital in Sanikil.
Minister McGill emphasized that there is a lot of good in the new revised MDA, adding that the government is working to ensure that there are concrete measures on the AML side to address the concerns of Nimba and other counties in which it operates.
He said conditions must be improved by the company, stressing that “AML must operate in a way that makes our employees happy, and we have to create conditions so that our employees can work in harmony with the company.”
The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs explained that the government had not handed over the railway line to ArcelorMittal. “This information is false and misleading. The railways belong to the government. The government has absolute control.”
Speaking on the issue of jobs for the Nimba people, Minister McGill said: “The Nimba are citizens of Liberia and Liberians deserve to fill some high-ranking positions in Mittal and this is part of the negotiations. The company operates not only in Nimba but in Liberia, so Liberians deserve prominent positions in Mittal. Before the MDA is certified, all Ts and “Is” will be crossed.
He called on the Nimba people to support ArcelorMittal Liberia’s presence and assured that the Government would ensure that their rights were protected and their concerns addressed.