President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has officially dedicated the US$21 million Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Headquarters on Ashmun Street, Monrovia.
“We are here to participate in this historic milestone, in the fulfillment of our steadfast efforts to transform our country and we will continue to challenge those in the public and private sectors [to forge ahead] in the development of our country.”
The country, she said, depends on the vision, leadership and participation of all. The nation’s goals and targets are achieved only when everyone plays his or her part.
President Sirleaf made the statement yesterday when she received the keys to the CBL’s magnificent building from Executive Governor J. Mills Jones.
Speaking at the dedicatory ceremony yesterday, President Sirleaf said the wellbeing of the economy and the fulfillment and expectations come not from the push of a button or the wave of the magic wand, but from the collective determination and actions by citizens and entities charged with the responsibility to promote the development agenda.
The Liberian leader said the completion of the building on Ashmun Street is a result of the determination to dedicate a structure that gives the Capital city a new lease of life, one that brings the CBL on par with Central Banks in the West African sub-region.
“Credit for this achievement made today goes to Governor Mills Jones and his able lieutenants for their determination to complete in this administration another major project that was started by a previous government,” the President declared. She praised the Governor and his team for their vision, determination and hard work in getting the job done.
She recalled the earlier rejection faced from some major bilateral partners, who believed that there would be better use of Liberia’s reserves than to complete the building at such a high cost.
“I am glad that I stood firm in support of the Governor’s decision and today we are here to see the results. And in so doing, we recognize the importance of collaboration and support to the institution which serves as the custodian of our public financial resources, she averred.
Turning the keys over to the President, Dr. J. Mills Jones said: “Come and see a modern building standing tall as a testament of what is possible for Liberians. And I will say that this country, Liberia, still remains a land of possibilities.”
“When we say self reliance must be the pillar of economic growth and development, this is what we mean. Liberia must rely on its own resources. We have succeeded in building the headquarters of the CBL and we are proud to say that we do not owe a cent to any one, local or foreign, for the completion of this building,” Governor Jones declared, amidst thunderous applause.
“When we say come and see, we are not just talking about the building but we are talking about commitment of the Government, especially President Sirleaf’s vision and support to Liberia economic empowerment,” he added.
According to him, as Governor of Central Bank he believes in the future of the Liberian economy and to ensure that it is well handled.’
Sylvanus O’connor, architect and AEP Consultants told the gathering that he was “pleased to take part in the breaking achievement in our nation’s quest to make a successful transition from post war reconstruction to sustainable economic recovery.”
He commended the CBL and the Government for taking the bold step of constructing such a prominent public building while eliminating one of the vestiges of war from the capital city’s urban landscape.
“AEP’s participation in the project has been two fold: one was for the provision of consultancy services pursuant to the preparation of preliminary design drawings and other outlines construction documents, budget cost estimates, bidding information and bid process administration; while the second was for the provision of construction supervision and contract administration services throughout the construction and defects liability periods,” he said.
Mr. O’Connor noticed that the success of the project has much to do with the harmonious and cordial working relationship between the CBL building committee, AEP’s design and project supervision and management teams.
The architect and AEP consultant also lauded CESAF Liberia for job well done.
For his part, Pol Diego, CESAF contractor assured the Government that the CBL headquarters is one of the most technologically advanced structures which fit in line with the highest standards expected for such a prestigious building.
He said technologies and the security systems they installed are cutting-edge devices, and best technology available in the market; moreover in the future they can be updated and integrated with upcoming developments.
“It is with great pleasure and satisfaction, that today we state that this moment has finally come and we are deeply proud of having accomplished such an immense enterprise,” he said.
The new CBL head office, which comprises a 12-storey building with an accompanying 5-storey modern parking garage situated on the block of Ashmun Street between Lynch and Buchanan.
The building also has a state-of-the-art technology infrastructure to support its communication, data processing and security functions, started in May 18, 1989, with the leadership of past Governors of the bank which included Mr. John G. Bestman, David Vinton, Mildred Reeves and Betty Saway but was halted at the onset of the Liberian civil war that lasted for 14 years.