Liberia, Japan to Hold Joint Committee Meeting Today

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The Government of Liberia (GoL) and the Government of Japan will today, September 11, hold a Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) at 10:30 a.m. in the conference room at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia, a Foreign Ministry release has said.

The JCM is an annual event that catalogs the Government of Japan’s contributions to Liberia’s social economic development programs that are “Pro-poor,” reviewing all milestone achievements by GoL as well as the positive impact of the KR Food Aids Project (rice) and Non-project Grant Aids (petroleum products) in Liberia.

Meanwhile, GoL will be represented by Gbehzohngar Findley, Minister of Foreign Affairs, while Tsutomu Himeno, Japanese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary will be representing the government of his country.

According to the release, since the inception of the program in Liberia, the Government of Japan has provided 58,531.13 metric tons of assorted rice and 21,084.64 metric tons of mixed petroleum products, respectively.

It can be recalled that in 2008, before the upsurge of the global financial meltdown, former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf engaged in a bilateral arrangement with the Embassy of Japan near Accra, Ghana, for food aid assistance under the Japanese Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) Program for Africa.

The first Exchange of Notes (E/N) was signed between GoL and the Government of Japan on August 18, 2008, and the first consignment of rice weighing 8,612 metric tons arrived March 2009.

As a direct result of the Japanese Grant Commodities monetization in Liberia, a number of economic recovery projects have been funded and executed by the ministries and agencies directly in charge of the project.

They are the Community Infrastructural Development Project, implemented at a cost of US$5.6 million, to open alleys along the ELWA/Robertfield Highway corridor.

This project is being implemented by the Ministry of Public Works, while the Paddy and Seed Rice Project is being completed at a cost of US$7.2 million for both phases (1&2).

This project is being effected by the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), and since 2009 the MoA has constructed five warehouses in Nimba, Bong, Lofa and Grand Gedeh counties at a cost of US$1.4 million.

The Small Medium Enterprises (SME) Project, which comes at a cost of US$889,097, is being implemented by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), while LIFE Fund (Liberia Innovative Fund for Enterprise Development), which comes at a cost of US$665,000, is also being implemented by the MoCI.

The construction of three bridges in Grand Cape Mount County, which comes at a cost of US$1.9 million, is being implemented by Grand Cape Mount County, with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) exercising oversight authority, while the Human Resource Capacity Building Project, which comes at a cost of US$731,412, is being carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In addition to the economic recovery projects, the Government of Japan is considering funding requests for the construction of 282 low-cost housing units in Sasstown, Grand Kru County, to be rented out at a very minimum cost, while the construction of a new “Gobachop” market in the Omega Community area is being proposed at a cost of US$4.2 million.

Expected to attend the meeting are all the seven Ministerial Steering Committee members, including the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Development Planning, Commerce and Industry and State and Chief of Staff to the President, Public Procurement and Concession Commission, and the director–general of the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) as well as private sector representatives of FOUTA Corporation, UCI, SWAT, MOTC, Petrol Trade and Kailondo Petroleum Incorporated.

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