W/Bank Boosts Weah’s Road Agenda
-Offers US$500m Loan
Critics of President George Manneh Weah’s infrastructure agenda, including road connectivity, perhaps would not prevail in their campaign to discredit the regime.
Pres. Weah has vowed to build more roads than any other political administration since Liberia’s Independence in 1847, but his critics claim the assertion is a mere political statement and that he does not have the international contact to buttress such promise.
However, As the Public Agenda Reports, latest advances from the international community, including independent financial institutions in favor of the Weah Administration are clearly signifying positive symbols of hope. Recently, the World Bank (WB) Group offered to the Liberian Government a loan of US$500 million to support the Administration’s road construction agenda across the country.
The disclosure was made at the Ministry of Information’s regular Thursday press conference by Information Minister, Lenn Eugene Nagbe.
Min. said, the agreement, when finalized, will see the government paying a concessional interest rate of 0.5 percent over a reasonable time frame.
He noted that following the ratification of the loan agreement by the government, the Bank will propose a consortium comprising the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and African Development Bank (AfDB), who will pull an additional US$500 million, bringing the agreement to a total of US$1billion.
Information Minister Nagbe told reporters recently in Monrovia at the conference that Pres. Weah was insistent that the loan agreement, when ratified, will see the Coastal Road Project completed within a period of three years.
He recalled that Pres. Weah in his first address to the nation said, the government needed to generate US$3.4 billion to develop most of the roads across the country; something, Min. Nagbe asserted was an indication that the President is committed to achieving, and for which he is engaging partners and friendly governments to secure loans and grants to get it done.
“Pres. Weah’s insistence on road construction is based on empirical and scientific evidence and data presented to him by Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in its Constraints Analysis following an assessment on Liberia’s development challenge,” he disclosed.
According to the MCC’s Constraints Analysis, the lack of good road network and energy are the two most development constraints hampering the growth and development of the country.
Min. Nagbe declared: “If Liberia is to grow and develop; if Liberia is to boom in agriculture, it requires the construction of good road connectivity and access to affordable electricity.”
Heavily descending on critics of the six month old regime, the Information Minister added: “Those of you in the opposition who termed the ETON Financing Loan Agreement as 419 will begin to spread another rumor that the World Bank Loan Agreement is 519.”
“419” is a figure often used in Africa to make reference to con artists who use fraudulent schemes to dupe unsuspecting individuals or entities of monies and other valuables.
“We will be steadfast in securing loans; we will respect all of our agreements; we will explore any means that is proper and legal to secure loans that will benefit our people and our country; we will not tie ourselves to any binding agreement that will constrain us,” Min. Nagbe notified critics.
Meanwhile, the Information Boss has emphasized that the ETON Loan deal is a law and cannot be scrapped as perceived by many in the opposition bloc whose job according to him is to make good things to appear bad in the eyes of the vast majority of the Liberian people.