Pres Weah Submits US$536M Loan Agreement for Ratification

15
4456
President Weah wants the country's road network improved

-Recalls 5 pending investment-incentive agreements

President George Weah yesterday submitted to the Senate for ratification, the much talked about US$536,400,000 (Five hundred thirty-six million, four hundred thousand United States dollars) loan financing agreement between Eton Finance PTE Ltd and the Liberian government.

“The objective of this loan is to finance the coastal corridor connection of the country’s county capitals road project, viz construction of the roads connecting Buchanan-Cestos City-Greenville-Barclayville, the Barclayville-Sasstown, the Barclayville-Pleebo; the Medina-Robertsport and the Tubmanburg-Bopolu, ” President Weah noted in his communication dated May 7, 2018, to the lawmakers.

According to the President, also to be constructed are rest stops and roadside service areas; the construction of a vocational training center in Greenville, Sinoe County; the construction of mini soccer (football) stadiums in Harper, Maryland County, Barclayville, Grand Kru County; Greenville, Sinoe County; Cestos City, River Cess County; Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County; Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County and Bopolu, Gbarpolu County.

President Weah informed the lawmakers that the principal amount of the loan is payable in 15 years by level payment at an interest rate of 1.46 percent per annum, with a seven year interest and principal free grace period.

The contractor of the project, according to the communication, shall be the Joint Venture Consortium (JVC) comprising MAEIL, Liberia Construction Co., Ltd, a major Chinese Engineering, Procurement and Construction Company and subcontractors comprising Liberian-owned operated construction and engineering companies, all to be vetted and confirmed by the Ministry of Public Works in respect of their technical capacities.

“Honorable Pro-Tempore, I trust that the Legislature will ratify this agreement, which seeks to provide employment, build our infrastructure, strengthen our union, and drive our pro-poor agenda for the good of our Liberian people,” the letter concluded.

It was received with a standing ovation, but later sent to the relevant committees with the mandate to report to plenary within 10 days.

Dangote, Firestone, other agreements recalled 

In another development, President Weah has written the Senate, informing that body of his decision to recall five pending Investment-Incentives and Concessions Agreements currently before them for ratification.

The agreements include the controversial Dangote Cement Liberia Ltd; the Investment Incentive Agreement between the Republic of Liberia and TIDFORCE Investment Company and Liberia Steel and Cement Mining (LICEMCO); Concession Agreement between Liberia and the Nimba Rubber Incorporated (NRI) and an Amendment to the Amended and Restated Concession Agreement between Liberia and Firestone Liberia, Incorporated.

The recalled Agreements were recently reviewed by the Special Presidential Concessions Review Committee, with the mandate to assess and ascertain whether they are in compliance with the procedural and substantive requirements of Liberian Law, and to also evaluate the justification including benefits to the Liberian people and the nation for the tax and other incentives granted, according to President Weah’s May 7, 2018, communication.

“Having reviewed these Agreements, the committee has derived that the legal requirements in these agreements were not fully adhered to, for example, several provisions of the Amended Public Procurement and Concession Act of 2010, were violated; that categories of tax relief. (Import, GST, Turnover, Presumptive, Fuel and Gasoline, withholding Interest, Dividends and Third Parties Services, etc) were either partial or fully granted to the concessionaires without any showing of measurable benefits to Liberia and its citizens; and most of these Agreements seem not to have been meticulously prepared as there are a number of avoidable typos and misinformation, while exhibits referenced in the Agreements were not attached,” the communication added.

In consideration of those findings, President Weah informed the Legislators that he was recalling those agreements from their secretariat, “for reassessment by the National Investment Commission(NIC) to enable them meet fully the procedural and substantive legal requirements as well as value-for-money test to assure the benefit of the Liberian people, before possible re-submission to the Legislature.”

 Off to Sierra Leone

In a related development, President Weah leaves the country tomorrow, May 12, to attend the inauguration of Sierra Leone President, Julius Maada Bio at the State House in Freetown, the capital, an Executive Mansion release has said.

According to the release, the President trip is a result of an invitation his Sierra Leonean counterpart extended to him while President Maada Bio was on a one-day working visit to Liberia on Tuesday, May 8.

The two leaders, the release said used the time to share ideas on ways they can work together to enhance greater security and economic cooperation between the two Mano River Union members states.

President Weah will join heads of states from other West African sub-region to shed light on Sierra Leone’s democratic triumph.

Weah will be accompany by Bhofal Chambers, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Albert Chie, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Gbehzongar Findley, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Samuel D. Tweah, Minister of Finance and Development Planning and Emmanuel Shaw, Advisor to the President.

Others are Daniel D. Ziankahn, Minister of National Defense and Len Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information.

Meanwhile, Nathaniel Farlo McGill, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Office Staff, will chair the Cabinet in close consultation with the Vice President, Jewel Howard Taylor and via telephone contact with the President.

15 COMMENTS

  1. DEAR MR. GEORGE MANNEH WEAH
    I HEARD AND SAW MR. EMMANUEL SHAW AS ADVISOR TO YOU. WHAT IS THE MONEY THAT MR. EMMANUEL SHAW TOOK FROM THE LIBERIA GOVERNMENT? LET HIM PAY THE MONEY BACK. THIS MAN IS WORKING WITH THE LIBERIA GOVERNMENT.

  2. SOME QUESTIONS THE LEGISLATURE SHOULD WANT ANSWERED: Which civil engineering firm conducted the feasibility studies that set the price tag at $536,400.000? Where are the feasibility studies for the mini soccer stadiums, rest stops, roadside service areas, the vocational training center, and the highway itself? What type of road surface is envisaged – laterite, macadamized, or what? How many bridges and what size/type are to be constructed? And how sure is the Finance Minister we can retire this loan in 15 years, even at an interest rate of 1.46% per year?

  3. Yor look insar dis loan carefully befour yor ratifi it oh, we done won it to be like dey Greenville Port and order loans dar chokin us now, with no way to repay it oh. Will dis loan be used for dey intended purpose? Yor be careful oh, becuz anyting TIGER(Emanuel L. Shaw 11) han insar non can smell good oh. I hope Airplan nar insar dis monee oh; also, i non tink dey monee enough for all dey projects dat dey say it will cover oh. Hmmmm, yor tak time with ourwah children future oh.

  4. Taking loan to develop counties that have long been forgotten is a very noble ideal. But what often happened is the misappropriation of borrowed money going in wrong pockets for personal consumptions and leaving the country to bear the principaland interest repayments without the needed infrastructural developments. President weah, you need to open your “eyes and ears” and see that these projects are truly implemented. Otherwise your administration will be a byword, and an object of ridicule to Liberian people. Liberians are losing hope gradually in the governing oversight of the nation. A little nation with such spendendous resources still wallows in the abyss of poverty. It is hard time we must try to undone the natural resource curses that have plagued our nation unending. In order to disburse these funds to those projects, a proper oversight mechanism should be put into place that will allow proper monitoring of how these funds are paid systemically as the development is being done in piecewise manner. “See before you pay” is the process that will enable the country to get the bang for her buck while at same time allowing smooth implementation of the projects. A hint to a wise is enough. Have a competitive binding process for these projects and make the cost of an attempted corruption on the part of binding parties prohibitively high.

  5. President Weah will Travel more than Ellen Johnson!
    Every two or three days Travel…….travel …..My God.

    • Give me a list of travelings Pre.Weah did that were not prudent since he became president. If none, I advice that you push your fingers on your technology for meaningful comments.

  6. Let me begin by thanking the president for putting forward his idea on building Liberia road networks. It is a smart thinking on his part. However, I think the idea has a lot of flaws that would make the project a failure. Here’s why:
    The president needs to show the Liberian people a blue print of the project with detail feasibility studies and cost analysis of the roads, each stadium to be built as well as other projects as outlined in his idea sent to the senate.
    The average cost of constructing a two-lane, undivided road in rural Sub-Saharan Africa in today’s $ is estimated at $2-$3 million per mile according to AFRICA INFRASTRUCTURE COUNTRY DIAGNOSTIC. The cost per mile may increase based on other variables such as location, terrain, number of lanes, lane width, surface durability and the number bridges, to name a few according to AFRICA INFRASTRUCTURE COUNTRY DIAGNOSTIC. Not knowing any of the details is like buying “pig in the bag.” A president who has no financial management and managerial skills and has refused to declare his assets, who have surrounded himself with the likes Emmanuel Shaw and Archibald Bernard, I am afraid the Liberian people will be holding an empty bag after all is set and done. We need to cross our “ts” and dot our “is.” I do not trust this president sincerity. He may be corrupt and untrustworthy just like those before him. This country has a horrible history of corruption, embezzlement and mismanagement of public funds. Hence, we the people need to be vigilant and should everything legally possible to not “fatten frog snake.”

  7. This project needs careful and thorough analysis by vetted financial, technical, engineering, etc. experts.

    Jesus take the wheel so Liberia rises!

  8. “A Borrower is a slave to the lender.”

    The intent on paper (planning to develop certain rural parts of Liberia) looks goods. However, the reality of borrowing US$536M which is almost equivalent to Liberia’s FY 2017/2018 budget of US $526.6 M with no detail explanation on how funds will be generated over 15 years to repay such loan (with an interest rate of 1.46 percent per annum) looks very fiscally irresponsible.

    Without explaining where the money will come from to repay this loan, it reminds me of previous “big show and no substance governments” that once plunged Liberia into one of the HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Counties). It was not until our former Chief Beggar President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, begged the western powers to forgive most of Liberia’s massive debt which allowed Liberia to once more financially function on the world market.

    We should learn from our history. Desperation should not plunge us into bad financial decisions. Liberia is notorious when it comes to defaulting on its loan. I am skeptical when it comes to borrowing money almost the size of our entire fiscal budget. It is regrettable to see more than 50% (US$296 million) of Liberia’s meager budget US$526.6M is spent on compensation of overloaded government employees.

    This new government needs money badly; but it should first focus heavily on austerity measures by cutting government waste: salaries, unwarranted perks, unwarranted travels, expensive vehicles, duplicate functions, etc., and open up the country’s economy by making Liberia business friendly.

    Give tax incentives to Liberians in the Diaspora willing to invest one million dollar or more into the Liberian economy. Encourage a moderate but efficient tax system. Develop a strong security sector; apply the rule of law; develop a good education system with good technical colleges; improve the health sectors. These are few factors that will attract more businesses into the country thus generating more income into the country and lowering the unemployment rate.

    Borrowing more money without the means of paying for it is a quick way of adding more debt to our already ballooning debt. Focus on generating income.

    Focus on austerity measures: focus on a small but efficient government that is result oriented.
    Focus on Liberia’s natural potentials: Harness Liberia’s Waters for Maritime advantage: Seaports; utilize Liberia’s abundant natural resources (good soil and weather for domestic agriculture sufficiency) for economic development….road/utility connectivity; increase trade and investment both domestic and foreign.

    When I last checked, Liberia is a democratic country with a capitalist system and by definition: “Capitalism is an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.”

    If this government can put the core principals of capitalism to use, Liberia will be better off economically than just relying on borrowing money that it cannot afford to repay!!!

    Caveat Emptor: Let the buyer be ware! “A borrower is a slave to the lender”.

  9. Good question Guva, The Gbarnga – Medikorma road ground breaking was done by presidential candidate George Weah days before the 2nd round elections that brought him to power. Nepotism is playing here.

  10. Not always to eat food or used money to buy materials thing! but building a roads and sports stadium also help to develop a nation.It help to decentralize businesses,create job opportinuty for all liberian,reduces transportation,encourage investors and it help promote agricultural development.I say a big thank u president weah for thinking about the poor

Leave a Reply to Walters Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here