House Ratifies US$536m ETON, Gov’t Road Financing Agreement
By Wilfred S.Gortor
The House of Representatives has ratified the much-publicized US$536 million Loan Financing Agreement between the Government of Liberia and ETON Finance PTE Limited.
The ratification of the loan agreement, which seeks to finance government’s Coastal Corridor Road Project, comes a day after the Joint Legislative Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning and Judiciary conducted an elaborate public hearing to verify the relevance of the loan.In its recommendation to the Plenary on Tuesday, the committee suggested the passage of the contract on grounds that the benefits the Liberian people tend to reap from the financing accord is far more redeeming in terms of addressing the nation’s social infrastructural development needs.
As agreed by the ETON Finance PTE Limited and the Government of Liberia, the little over US$536 million loan has an interest rate of 1.46 percent per annum, and the payment of said amount will follow after seven years of the agreement operational date.
The agreement will facilitate the pavement of a total of 505.3 kilometres of roads with asphalt pavement via the construction of the Buchanan- Cestos City; Greenville-Barclayville; and Barclayville-Sasstown road networks.
It will also facilitate the Barclayville-Pleebo Road; Medina-Robertsport; Tubmanburg-Bopolu roads with the erection of rest Stops Roadside Services areas; the construction of Vocational Training Centers in Greenville, Sinoe County as well as the erection of mini-soccer stadiums in Harper, Maryland; Greenville, Sinoe; and Cestos City, Rivercess counties, among others.
The House’s committee in its recommendation to the Plenary noted that the Proposed Coastal Corridor Project submitted to the Legislature by President George Manneh Weah, is timely and from all indication expresses the wishes and aspirations of the Liberian people in terms of actualizing the government Pro-Poor Agenda.
The committee believes that, among other things, the agreement will seek to address contemporary challenges Liberia is faced with in terms of road networks which have caused disparaging socio-economic hardships for the Liberian people for the past 170 years.
It said the loan agreement will also address the problem of centralization of Liberia’s economy only in Monrovia due to the inaccessibility of road infrastructures in most parts of rural Liberia.
Among other recommendations, the committee indicated that the agreement will seek to improve Liberia’s already ailing educational system by the construction of a vocational training center which will be situated in Greenville, Sinoe County.
According to the committee, the agreement will seek to enhance Liberia’s already ailing social infrastructure (roads) development that have directly impeded the promotion of human development and better quality of life through sustainable economic growth.