Central Bank of Liberia’s (CBL) Executive Governor Dr. J. Mills Jones has made it plain to his critics that he holds no apologies for helping Liberians through the CBL loan scheme which, he said, is meant to buttress the fight of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf‘s Administration against poverty in the country.
“What we are trying to do is to provide resources that will enable our people to work and help themselves. We at the CBL see nothing wrong with that if our people’s lives must be improved. If we must take a chance on anyone or anybody we must take a chance on ourselves. We must take chances on our very selves if somebody else is going to take a chance on us. I will not apologize for helping our people”—and by extension, our nation, he tacitly made the psychological connection.
The CBL Executive Governor made these comments in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County where he dedicated the newly constructed Unity Savings Credit Union building. He had performed a similar ceremony in Fish Town, River Gee County and in Barclayville, Grand Kru County.
Although Governor did not say to whom he was referring, analysts say that the 53rd Legislature—whose members had tried to make something negative out the widely applauded way he runs the Central Bank—could not be overlooked as targets for his praises.
The lawmakers had turned Dr. Jones into a folk-hero by suggesting that his financial method was shrouded in political aggrandizement. They even went as far as orchestrating (arranging, scheming) a recent amendment to the CBL Act, mandating that CBL governors with an interest in elective positions resigned from the Bank three consecutive years before plunging into politics.
But Governor said that “if we are going to build an economy based on more equitable distribution of income, then Liberians need to be empowered.”
He said building a middle class (middle income economy) is crucial for the foundation of securing Liberia’s democracy, adding that “we must empower Liberians financially.”
“Helping Liberians should be discussed? It is not an option, but a responsibility. It is imperative and we do it in order to move forward. This is why the CBL is trying to do by offering a helping hand to our people. We are not giving handouts. We are not on the street distributing money to people. We work with Village Saving Loan Associations and Credit Unions in order to achieve this goal,” the CBL boss clarified.
The CBL Executive Governor believes that “if we have to develop Liberia, we must work by creating an environment that would encourage people to work. This financial institution building that we are dedicating here today should be seen as a symbol to move forward,” Jones declared.
The Governor insisted that Liberians should “look to the future and think bigger because it is the only way we can improve—by thinking big. You cannot get far by thinking small. Those who reach the sky were willing to think big and work hard. Progress comes through hard work and if we have to build our nation we have to build it ourselves. People can only help us, but at the end Liberians must build Liberia.”
“We must understand the challenges we face. If people in villages and towns do not have something to give commercial banks in Monrovia as guarantee, what should we do? Should we fold our arms and continue to complain? It will not be enough. If we must fight poverty we should go where there is poverty. It is no secret that poverty is with the low-income earners, especially those in the towns and villages.”
Repayment of CBL Loan
Mills Jones reported that borrowers are repaying the CBL loan. “People are repaying their loans. We are encouraging them. We are making progress because things don’t change overnight. We cannot keep doing the same old things and expect different results,” he stressed.
Governor Jones informed the public that development is not a budget, meaning that development is about hard work and producing in order to get higher income.
“By producing,” he said “you help the government significantly to get more income, through which government can in turn improve the living condition of its people.”
He maintained that the CBL remains a friend of the private sector, where jobs will come from in helping the government meet its goal to fight and reduce poverty in the county.