President Weah Appeals with Nigerian Banks in LIB Not to Shut Down

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President Weah wants the country's road network improved

President George Weah has appealed to Nigerian banks not to shut down operations in the country due to the dire economic crisis being faced by his administration.

Addressing journalists at the Presidential Villa in Abuja during his recent state visit to Nigeria, President Weah explained that he had been informed that authorities of several Nigerian banks operating in Liberia have a plan to shut down operations or reduce staff.

“The Liberian banking sector is mainly dominated by Nigerians, and I am being informed that [authorities of] head offices in Nigeria may be considering reducing their support or even shutting them down because of the current downturn in our economy.

When contacted, the Central Bank of Liberia, through its communication director, Cyrus Badio, could not confirm that Nigerian-owned banks are planning to shut down or reduce their staffs because of the current economic difficulties in the country, as claimed by President Weah.

“I urge them not to do so, as I am optimistic that trade and commerce will increase in the near future in my administration,” Weah said.

President Weah added that the presence of the banking institutions is necessary to sustain economic growth and also appealed to Nigerian investors in the country to boost the economy.

He admitted that “There are major shortcomings in the electricity and power sectors, in road construction, in housing, in mining, and in fisheries, to name a few, that could be of serious interest to Nigerian investors, either as individuals or companies or through joint ventures or public-private partnerships.”

“We invite all of you to come to Liberia and explore the many new opportunities for investment that are bound to increase under this new political dispensation. I promise you that you will find a government that is not only business friendly, but ready to do business,” President Weah added.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Why can’t Liberians open their own banks? Is it because we are used to being a spectator in our own country? We are slaves in our own nation. Where are the economists and financial experts of Liberia? They are so good that they can’t even open and operate a bank in their own country? Where is this thing called national pride and self-esteem?

  2. Weah and team find themselves in an unfortunate economic mess. The economic hardship in which the new government finds itself, can be traced to Johnson-Sirleaf. During the reign of Johnson-Sirleaf, we were told that Ebola (2014-15), caused the economy to go south. The argument for the slow down in the output of goods and services was somehow understandable, although not totally convincing. The truth must be told. The Ebola outbreak caused a problem. But, the economy spinned out of control also because poor economic decisions were made prior to the outbreak of the killer desease. Those poor decisions of the Johnson-Sirleaf era are the main reason for the mess that exists today in our country.

    • F. Hney – you could be absolutely correct and we can list all of the cause and effect of our problems, but the question becomes what do we do now that we know the problems? Solutions are the thing we should be seeking at this very juncture.

      You and I know very well, from a business perspective, that if it makes economic sense for these banking institutions in the country to scale back to minimize risk they will. The question, though, are we prepared to fill the gap? Given the current economic downturn, I think as a nation we’ve passed that point of diagnosing the problems. There’s a two-prong approach here: let the government handles the cause of our problems and put in place mechanisms to prevent recurrence and we can focus on how we invest in the economy to make us active stakeholders…

  3. Someone might remind the President that since “charity begins at home” he could begin looking IN before always venturing OUT to seek solutions for Liberia’s many problems. Surely there must be scores, if not hundreds, of Liberians who could be encouraged and supported by the Central Bank to establish and operate “community banks” throughout the country as a start. Where there is a will there should be a way. (In any case, it might help to know exactly why the Nigerian bankers now plan to leave sweet Liberia.)

    • My Brother – I think it is you and I (Liberians) need to put our resources together to open these institutions and not the central bank giving us the money. What we can ask of the government is to create that business-friendly atmosphere for LIBERIAN businesses to thrive…

  4. Private banks are making millions from public sector operations without doing much. I think it is time that the current administration start to look into the concept of state bank. We too can have a state bank independent of the Central Bank of Liberia. This could put private financial sector on their heed to innovate and become better.

  5. This is the challenge to Liberians in the diaspora. Liberians remit hundreds of millions annually to relatives in Liberia and that has not really make a tangible difference on a much larger economic scale. Maybe it’s time Liberians rethink this strategy and invest where it matters. Investment pool, for a lack of better jargon, could be something to consider for the purpose of investing in those sorts of institutions and others as well. Face it if the Nigerian banks conclude that it doesn’t make economic sense to keep those institutions open, they will close them down or downsize the workforce considerably. It’s just prudent from a business standpoint! Liberians need to be prepared to either acquire these institutions when the time is right or venture into that are of business.

    The president talks about Liberian can no longer be spectators in their own economy which I agree with, but what are Liberians doing to prepare for this new policy. It’s time for Liberians to actually open their eyes, especially those in the diaspora and seize the opportunity. It is a good start for the few Liberians that go home to open a business, but it’s not going to cut it. You need massive and sustained influx of capital investments and that requires Liberians putting their resources together, hence investment pool.

    It’s my understanding that Liberians in the diaspora have remitted over billions dollars over a span of several years to relatives in Liberia. That’s a huge sum to not show any viable economy impact if invested wisely. It seems clear that Liberians in the diaspora have enormous economy power, but the question is do they know that?

    It is now up to the diaspora Liberians, especially those in the financial sectors, to device such investment security that would attract Liberians in the diaspora. I am sure many Liberians, including me, will be willing to invest. Until this is done Liberians will remain “spectators” in their own economy and this president cannot be blamed!

  6. The in-coming government has inherited a myriad of problems, prominent among them is the economic downturn that is being talked about. The new government claims that the country was broke when it took over the reins of power. Yet hundreds of appointments are being made without even considering the fact that a national budget has not been passed yet that no budgetary allotment has been made to pay these people. Secondly, civil servants have not been paid for the past three to four months and yet this government is making appointments some of which are not really necessary considering the state of the economy.

    Liberians in the diaspora are being asked to contribute meaningfully to the development of Liberia but yet the same Liberians back home are making it difficulty by fighting the dual citizenship legislation presently languishing in the legislature without any hope of passage. If Liberians in the diaspora are going to be treated like foreigners in their own country and not accepted by their own people, what is the incentive that will make them to want to invest their money in an economy that has provided no space for their expertise?

    I believe that certain favorable conditions need to be present that will encourage Liberians in the diaspora to want to invest their time and money in Liberia. Until Liberians at home can understand that many left the shores of Liberia due to the hard conditions created by the civil war and other desires to better themselves with the aim of coming back home and contributing meaningfully to the economic development of their country, it will be very hard for diaspora Liberians to make commitments that have the propensity to derail their desire to make meaningful contributions to the country.

    • Sackor – your points are well noted and are indeed legitimate critiques. The government may be doing all the wrong things as you have just layout, but that should be more of a reason you and I need to get involve. The fact that foreign businesses are thriving in the country at the expense of local-owned businesses should be a driving force for Liberians in the diaspora to galvanize as a counter-weight in terms of creating a level plain field.

      The thing is I’m hoping Liberians can evolve and gravitate to the next level – a place where they can be in the driver’s seat of their own destiny. We need to think of this from a holistic point of view without limiting ourselves to one sector of the economy, but looking at all sectors in a long term planning.

      Yes, some of our brothers and sisters back home treat Liberians diaspora as foreigner but perhaps that is good. This might just put Liberians diaspora in a better position since most of our leaders always value foreigners over their own. The point is we should not allow the absence of dual citizenship to dictate our involvement in the economy. Notwithstanding, dual citizenship must be part of the overall game plan in the end.

      I want to believe we have more economy power today compared to our forefathers in the late 1800s and to mid-1900s. The question, though, how do we recognize and take full control of that economy power?

  7. John,
    I read your comment with zest. Without a shred of doubt, I agree that “some” of our problems, whether economic, social or political can be dealt a severe blow by working cooperatively. In other words, we are very capable of erecting our own profitable financial institutions. You have a good idea. Talk to as many Liberians (in and out of the diaspora) as you can. I will listen very attentively. If I am asked to throw in my nickels and dimes in any meaningful discussion, I will try my level best.
    I am hoping to go to Liberia. I don’t know when. It’s tough, but God makes ways and waves! So, I am hopeful. I am interested in raising money for the public schools in Liberia. My proposal completely discourages the government from borrowing money from China or any country. The money must and should be raised in Liberia.

    Finally, I do not want to be misunderstood as a blamer. I want to do what is right. I think you have a good idea. I encourage you to talk to as many Liberians as possible.

    • Hney – thanks for the comments and I am certainly considering your suggestion. Do not consider yourself as blamer. You were just reechoing how most of us feel…

  8. Welcome back Freeman,
    Could you give an example of a US-Liberia institution?
    If a credible Liberian business entity is established, it will succeed. A good business venture does not have to be gigantic initially. If a good business venture is properly planned, totally different and contemporary than existing ones in Liberia, the business will succeed.

    To be affiliated with companies in the US, there are local factors that must be taken into consideration. Example, political, economic and environmental issues must be front and center. At the present time in Liberia, the political climate is very stable. Liberians are fed up with war. Any idiot who makes any attempt to destabilize a civilian elected person like Weah for his selfish interest, will fail. Now, that’s positive. The economic outlook is 65-70% good in Liberia. A potential American investor would be strongly encouraged to do business if the economy is steaming, not sluggish. Environmentally, there are too many issues.

    Freeman, let’s say you have a desire to operate a Payless Shoe store franchise. You have a store in Monrovia. Your shoe sales are good and therefore you want to open up a branch of Payless Shoe store in the most beautiful county, my county Maryland. It’s rainy season. Will you be able to drive down there in your BMW, Freeman? With tons of shoes in your BMW?
    If you talk about “affiliation”, I am not too sure. So, tell me as well as your readers what do you mean by affiliation.

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