The Senate at its 45th day sitting last week unanimously voted to ratify a finance agreement for the upgrading of the Gbarnga-Salayea road.
The Senate’s decision was based on a report received from its Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget; Foreign Affairs; and Judiciary, Claims, Petitions and Human Rights that was mandated to act on a communication from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf submitted to ratify a loan agreement in the tune of US$20 million.
The US$20 million agreement between the government of Liberia and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) was submitted to the Legislature in March 2016 by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning through President Sirleaf to generate partial financing for the upgrading of the Gbarnga-Salayea road.
According to the agreement, the government will pay interest at the rate of one percent per annum on the principal amount of the loan withdrawn and outstanding.
The agreement also stipulates that interest and service charges shall be paid semi annually on March 15 and September 15 of each year into the OFID account.
According to the President’s letter, the term of the loan is 20 years including a five-year grace period, while repayment of the principal amount shall be effected in 30 semi-annual installments in the amounts and on the dates specified in schedule 3 of the agreement.
Meanwhile, the passage of the Domestic Violence Bill, placed on the agenda by the Senate Joint Committee on Health, Gender, Social Welfare and Children Affairs and Judiciary, Claims, Petitions and Human Rights, was put on hold pending distribution of copies of the amended versions by the House of Representatives to members of the Senate.
In a related development, the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs has recommended to plenary that Mr. John A. Ballout Jr. was qualified through scrutiny to serve as Ambassador to the Republic of Qatar.
Mr. Ballout served as Senator of Maryland County on the Unity Party ticket, but was defeated by former Superintendent Gbleh-Bo Brown during the 2014 Special Senatorial Election.
Confirming report of his confirmation in a phone interview yesterday, Ambassador Ballout said he will do everything possible to make a good representation of Liberia during his tenure, and expressed thanks to President Sirleaf for his preferment.