Central Bank Governor Joseph Mills Jones has challenged members of the Village Savings and Loan Association (VISLA) and other borrowers to pay their debts to their creditors. According to Governor Jones, it is a responsibility of all borrowers to pay their debt in order to gain the respect of their creditors. “We must pay when we borrow so that we can prove to those who don’t trust us that we can pay our debt,” he said. The Central Bank Governor spoke in Kakata, Margibi County on June 21, 2014 where he delivered the keynote for the VSLA First National General Assembly which commenced on June 19.
A new leadership for the VISLA was elected at the Association’s Apex Assembly including the national leadership and county chapter leaders. The Chairlady of VSLA Mrs. Josephine Nagbe and her executives as well as county chapter heads were inducted on Saturday.
Governor Jones thanked the VSLA women who converged in Kakata from all 15 counties of Liberia for uniting to help raise their country out of poverty.
“I am convinced that something is happening somewhere in this country because Liberians are now getting to believe in themselves. It means that we can set our task to do something and it can be done,” he said.
The Governor emphasized that the VISLA are the women of Liberia in the towns and villages, adding “you are saying that with small support you can help yourselves and that you want to be active participants in the Liberian economy.” The CBL has disbursed millions of Liberian dollars in credit to registered Village Savings and Loan Associations from all 15 counties. The Bank has repeatedly reported that the loan scheme with the VSLA is yielding positive results. “Those that borrowed under the VSLA program are paying back the money with good interest,” said the CBL in a recent statement.
According to the Central Bank boss, the General Assembly of the VSLA in Kakata showed that Liberians are working together. “Let us work together to make the difference rather than work to pull each other down. We will remain poor if we continue to pull each other down, and so we must do better as Liberians because our country is not at satisfactory leveled yet,” Dr. Jones noted.
He reiterated the Central Bank’s commitment to continuing its loan scheme with Liberian, insisting that the program is the best way to raise the Liberian people out of poverty.
“The VISLA program is not the end of the road. It is just the beginning to get big. Liberians are not destined for poverty. I know that we always have people who don’t believe in what we do. But the cure for poverty is vision and so we must work together. We must care for and put Liberia first. Moreover, we must pay when we borrow,” he stressed.
The Chairlady of the VSLA, Mrs. Josephine Nagbe in her inaugural address thanked Governor Jones and the CBL for the loan scheme for the women-dominated VSLA. Mrs. Nagbe assured delegates and members of the VSLA that the CBL will not abandon the Association.
“I can assure that the Governor and his team at the CBL attaches importance to this VSLA program. All we need to do is, be responsible and pay back our debt,” she said.
Madam Irene George of the Consortium of VSLA Professionals in Liberia, for her part, said her dream and aspiration for the Association has come true.
Madam George recalled how the VSLA was founded in 2007 to enhance financial access to women in business across the country. “Bravo Governor Jones I can assure you that we are here to support your effort,” she said.
Earlier, the Board Chair of the Liberia National Credit Union Mr. J. Saye Biye said he is happy that majority of Liberians have seen the need to play a major role in their economy.
According to Mr. Biye, it is a pity that Liberia still lingers in economic slavery despite the fact that the country is the oldest country that attained political independence in Africa.
He challenged VSLA leadership and its members to support the vision of the CBL Governor and be responsible borrowers.
Governor Jones and delegation were met on arrival in Kakata by hundreds of people including marketers, Yana boys, unionists, traditional leaders and county officials.
The ceremony took place at the Margibi County Town Hall. Our reporter said the Town Hall was jam packed to capacity with a few hundred more people waiting outside just to take a glance and greet Governor Jones and delegate who arrived in the county at about noon.