Nimba County is forging ahead, entrenching its position as Liberia’s second most active economic zone, next to Montserrado County, which hosts the nation’s political and economic capital, Monrovia. Just over the weekend, the new Executive Governor of Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Executive Governor, Milton Weeks disclosed that the people of Tappita (Nimba) raised more than twice the amount of money required by CBL for the construction of a community bank in the area.
According to Governor Weeks, in order to establish a community bank, CBL requires that the community raise a minimum of US$25,000, representing 50% of the total capital required to establish a Rural Community Financial Institution (RCFI). With this local contribution, the CBL will then provide the remaining 50 % (US$25,000) to reach the US$50,000 total requirement. But the citizens of Tappita, with the help of their Diaspora compatriots, raised a whopping US$63,000— more than 100% of the total required capital, apart from the CBL’s contribution.
This led to the establishment of the nation’s first people-owned financial institution in rural Liberia that is also capable of facilitating money transfers.
The initial US$25,000 was raised right in Tappita, while the Diaspora Nimbaians, especially those from the Tappita district area, chipped in with a handsome US$38,000 for the construction of the RCFI to serve that vast district and beyond.
Governor Weeks, who inaugurated the bank, known as the Tappita Rural Community Finance Institution (TRCFI) over the weekend was highly impressed by the contribution of the Diaspora Nimbaians. He called on others to emulate the people of Nimba.
“Nimbaians in the Diaspora had also rallied to the cause of creating Tappita’s first bank. Contributing US$38,000, as their way of helping to start this bank,” he said. That investment from abroad alone, the Governor said, was an incredible 66% of the amount needed from locals. The total, therefore, raised by Nimbaians at home and abroad for the creation of this bank was over one hundred percent of the needed capital,” said Governor Weeks.
This, however, clearly indicates how patriotism and commitment and other virtues are leading Nimbaians in the right direction—the cause of their county’s development.
“TRCFI is more not just a financial institution, but actually a bank, which will offer the customers both savings and checking accounts as well as money transfers through MoneyGram and Western Union,” he said, adding that credit unions and village savings and loan associations (VSLAs), which are beneficiaries of the CBL’s credit facilities, may also make payments through the TRCFI.
The TRCFI, according to Governor Weeks, is the 11th such institution in eight counties. CBL rates the Tappita bank as the first of its kind in money transfer transactions.
Governor Weeks seems to be moving in the footsteps of his predecessor, Joseph Mills Jones, who began the microfinance empowerment program to rural communities across the country. Former governor Jones also started the construction and financing of the TRCFI in Tappita. This, according to the CBL boss, is the nation’s first people-owned financial institution that is also capable of facilitating money transfers.
Weeks told the Nimbaians at the program that the CBL’s goal is to provide people the opportunity to have access to financial services in their communities at a reduced cost. He made specific reference to rural communities.
The bank will therefore bring relief to many rural teachers and medical workers in Tappita and adjacent communities. “This bank is a relief to the teachers because it will make unnecessary their travel to Ganta, nearly five hours away and weeks of waiting, to receive their checks,” Tappita District Education Officer, Deepah Karneh, said.
Nimba Senator Thomas Grupee, speaking during the inauguration, urged his kinsmen to remain patriotic and take good care of their bank.
Meanwhile, it is becoming clearer by the day that there won’t be solutions to the precarious living conditions of Liberians unless they begin to make the requisite sacrifices or intervention to ensure that the country’s economy is retrieved from foreign hands that have controlled it from time in memorial.
Though giving the economy back to Liberians is a promise made by government yet to be redeemed, Nimbaians—by their little efforts, are taking the bull by the horn. Many of the merchants in the county are Sons of the Soil (SOS).
With their focus, seriousness and determination Nimba is indeed leading the economic emancipation of the Liberian masses who continue to live in abject poverty.
The county has so many booming cities such as Ganta, Tappita Saclepea, Bahn and others. Ganta, the standout amongst these fledging communities, is now being lined with storied buildings. The biggest question that remains unanswered is whether other counties will emulate the good example of Nimba.