In an effort to provide rural dwellers access to banking activities, the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) on Saturday, June 28 opened the first rural community finance institution in Bopolu, Gbarpolu County.
At a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the opening of the newly constructed bank, Central Bank Governor Dr. J. Mills Jones urged citizens to take ownership of it and make the best use of it.
“This is your bank. Save your money in it. Borrow from it and use the money to improve your farms and your businesses. Buy shares in it, make it your property,” Dr. Mills Jones told citizens.
The Gbarpolu bank is the fourth rural community finance institution to be constructed by the CBL under the administration of Dr. Jones.
The other three community finance institutions were constructed in Nimba, River Gee and Grand Kru counties.
According to Dr. Jones, it was time for Liberians to stand up and do away with the dependency syndrome.
“Business as usual has gotten us nowhere, and it is now time for us to do things differently to improve the lives of our people. We need to work above the poverty standard,” the CBL Executive Governor asserted.
“Liberia is a land of possibility — not negatively, but positively. We don’t have to wait for people to do things for us, for 167 years we have waited and it is now time for us to stand up to do something on our own,” he added.
Governor Jones and the CBL’s loan scheme that has gained favor among ordinary Liberians over the years have not been favored by members of the National Legislature.
A few months ago the Legislature passed a law prohibiting Governors and other officials of the Central Bank from contesting elections, requiring that they resign three years ahead of elections.
Alluding to this, Governor Jones in his remarks to the people of Gbarpolu, stated that he and his team were not deterred by criticisms or other manipulations to discourage them from reaching Liberians.
“For us, we will continue to work, even if we are criticized. It would be the time for us to muster the courage to work harder. It is only you that will write the history and judge us for what we are doing,” the CBL Boss noted.
According to him, Liberia is an emerging economy: “We want every Liberian to be a part of it, but we all need to work together to ensure it happens.
“Change has come to us and we must work together to sustain it. If people say it will not happen, [you must] say it will, say it has happened,” he continued.
He added, “This bank reflects our commitment to Liberia and a change that we want to see in the country. We want to see a Liberia where every citizen will have the opportunity to live in modern homes, a Liberia with good roads, hospital, and schools.”
Also speaking at the occasion, Mr. Hamadu Bayo, Chief Executive Officer of Afriland Bank, encouraged the citizens of Gbarpolu to see the bank as their own. “It is your children that will be working here; we are not going to take anyone outside of this county to work in the bank. You need to go to the bank for loan; you have to be a shareholder in it.”
He said the bank will be providing other services in the county including transfers that require the presence of Money Gram and Western Union.
He assured the citizenry that government employees will no more come to Monrovia to get their pay, but will receive it "right here in this bank".