The Rivercess business community has commended the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and its Board of Governors for efforts aimed at ensuring to every Liberian nationwide economic and financial inclusion.
This is the first time this has happened since the establishment of the county in early 1985, the traditional leaders from the two main ethnic groups, Bassa and Kru said. They praised the CBL and its leadership for the opening of the Rural Community Finance Institution (RCFI), which is the first of its kind in the county.
CBL, under the leadership of Dr. Jones, has inaugurated and opened four similar financial institutions in Karnplay, Gbelleyger District in Nimba County, Barclayville, Grand Kru County, Fish Town, River Gee County and Bopolu, Gbarpolu County. The Rivercess RCFI makes it number five.
These financial entities have since brought relief to government employees, businesses and other citizens in those counties. Prior to their establishment people travelled for miles to get to the nearest financial institutions, which are mostly in Monrovia.
Modernization of payment systems, which begins with the presence of financial institutions in every corner of Liberia, is one of many tools the Government of Liberia intends to use, through the Central Bank of Liberia, to ease economic burdens and improve general wellbeing of Liberians. Currently, Voinjama, Foya, River Gee, and Barclayville are among many cities now benefiting from this initiative.
The traditional leaders and elders cautioned against using the bank as a political tool by the people of the county, noting that development should now be the primary objective of all Rivercess citizens.
Speaking at the dedication ceremony, Mr. Gabriel Dossen, head of the business community in Cestos City, told the gathering that the people of Rivecess perceive the bank as a dream becoming a reality and an end to a lot of inconveniences they’ve endured.
“We are happy today for the bank. Development is key for every county and Rivercess is no exception. We are happy today because the Bank will serve as a new turning point for the people of the county,” he added.
Mr. Dossen then challenged his fellow citizens of the county to take advantage of the opportunity provided them by the Government of Liberia by purchasing shares in their new financial institution and making it their own.
Earlier, Rivercess County’s newly elected Senator, Francis Paye, lauded the CBL for building one of its Rural Community Finance Institutions in Cestos City.
Sen. Paye urged his kinsmen to see Rural Bank as an opportunity for investment through share ownership.
The Central Bank of Liberia’ Deputy Governor for Economic Policy, Mr. Boima S. Kamara, who attended the program, certificated the shareholders with a call for them to be committed to the proper upkeep of the rural financial institution.
In brief remarks, CBL Executive Governor, Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, expressed gratitude to the people of Rivercess for acknowledging the intervention of the Government of Liberia, adding that “no one, irrespective of geographic location, should perceive poverty as a way of life.”
Dr. Jones assured rural dwellers that he remains committed to working with the Board of Governors, Management and staff of the Bank for the sustainable transformation of the Liberian economy, especially at a time when the country is struggling to handle the impact of a major health crisis.
He reminded the audience at the opening ceremony in Cestos City that the Rural Community Finance Institution initiative of the CBL is a part of the GOL’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), a component of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which seeks to narrow the wide divide between the rich and poor globally.
For his part, Hamadou Bayo, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Afriland First Bank, said with technical assistance, RCFI will serve all the financial transactions of the people of Rivercess County.
The bank will render Western Union and Money Gram Services and ensure that the people have access to loans.
Mr. Bayo used the occasion to introduce the shareholders of the bank, all of whom are citizens of Rivercess County, and urged others residing in the county to become shareholders by buying shares.
Rivercess citizens who spoke through their county authorities lauded the Mills Jones administration at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for endeavoring to decentralize the financial services of the country by the building of RCFIs in remote areas where there are no banking services.
Meanwhile, another citizen of the county, Mr. Hilary Mentol, a shareholder of the bank, who spoke on behalf of shareholders, decried the under-development of the county and expressed hope that with the opening of the bank, Rivercess County would start the process of development.
Mr. Mentol called for road connectivity in the county as a means of fostering tangible economic development.
The ceremony was attended by CBL Board member David Farhat, an array of CBL staff, members of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) and members of the Liberia Business Association (LIBA).