The Liberian Bankers Association on Monday took the extraordinary and almost unprecedented measure against hundreds of debtors who have consistently refused to pay their loans to our banks.
These unscrupulous debtors who, when they were in need of loans to start or improve their businesses or meet their urgent personal needs, ran after the banks day and night pleading for the approval of their loans. And when the banks, believing that these loan seekers were serious, loaned them other customers’ money in answer to their persistent pleas, some of them immediately began repaying, in a faithful and responsible manner. But then, as their circumstances began to improve, many of the debtors got cold feet, foolhardily thinking that the banks would soon forget about the loans. How could these debtors think such?
Do they not know that there is such a profession called Accounting, which involves Auditing? Yes, all banks, indeed all serious businesspeople and even individuals and families, governments and other institutions need accountants and auditors—why? Because people and institutions, most especially businesses and governments, need to know how they are doing financially. Are they making a profit? Are they losing money? Is there something happening silently or unnoticed in the business that could one day lead to a crisis? Who still owes them, and who is current with payments? How healthy is the business, or the individual, family or institution’s financial position? Is it doing well enough to save for a rainy day? Are there resources for future expansion and further investments?
These are the fundamental questions every individual, family, business, institution or government must raise and find answers to, in order to determine its financial health and what the future looks like.
Every individual, family, institution, every government must be concerned about the future. It is called vision. We must all act with vision. For we all remember the Holy Bible’s sober warning: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
So that is what accountants and auditors are for—to help us all—individuals, families, banks and other businesses as wells governments and institutions—to KNOW how we are doing now, and also what the future looks like.
So when the accountants and auditors, in their diligence, notice that there are outstanding debts that need to be collected, these indispensable professionals raise ALARM, to warn the managers, proprietors and institutions that they are headed for trouble if swift action is not taken.
In the case of banks, it is even more serious—why? Because the money they lend out is not the banks’ own but other people’s money, deposited for current accounts, savings or time deposits. That money must be repaid on demand; otherwise the bank will lose the depositors’ confidence and head for serious embarrassment or even bankruptcy (insolvency, ruin).
These are the reasons why the banks MUST insist on debtors paying their debts; why we ourselves, as individuals, businesses and even as governments MUST exercise the integrity and discipline to PAY OUR DEBTS. We, too, if we want to be successful, if we want to be respected members of society, MUST pay our debt, for we know that there is a tomorrow. Only a fool is so shortsighted, so selfish as not to think about tomorrow, not knowing that the failure to honor our sacred obligations amounts to nothing more than sowing the seeds of self-defeat and self-deflation (lowering).
That is why in this Editorial, we appeal to, urge, beg these debtors to refrain from doing themselves injury and harm. We urge them to run to the banks with the same speed they engaged when they felt they needed the banks to come to their rescue. Run to the banks and pay every cent you own them. Fortunately, most of the bills are not big, and are immediately payable.
The time has come and is long past when we Liberians must become a serious people!
Here we are at the Daily Observer, almost every week, pleading with our government to give more empowerment to Liberian businesspeople so that they may play a greater role in their economy. In this Monday’s Editorial alone, repeated on Friday because of its importance, we pleaded with Finance Minister Boima Kamara and Central Bank
Executive Governor Milton Weeks, the nation’s two most important financial managers, to take measures to end the marginalization of Liberians in their own economy. But how can we expect them—Minister Kamara and Governor Weeks—to institute these measures when we Liberians are ourselves not serious?
Remember another Biblical admonition that remains true at all times: “Charity begins at home.” If we do not take ourselves seriously, how can we expect Finance Minister Kamara, Governor Weeks or anyone else to take us seriously?