25 January 2013

Liberia: No More Loans

Liberia and the European Investment Bank (EIB) Thursday signed a U$65 million grant to address the chronic electrical problem in the country but Information Minister Lewis said the latest signing ceremony means that Liberia will no more be eligible to borrow money for electricity, fuel, gas again.

Brown said the latest loan and other loans that have been signed on behalf of the government were enough to address the country's electrical problems.

The amount, provided under the Theme: Agenda for Transformation and Liberia Development Alliance was provided under the Liberia Debt Management Fund.

The amount which is a concession loan will be paid by Liberia over 20 years for the construction of the Mount Coffee Hydro facilities which President has said will be ready in 2015.

"The President has tasked all of us to make sure that we get the hydro on by December 2015, and we are very glad that we've signed this grant today that will also help to speed up the process," Minister Konneh said.

Under the terms of the loan agreement, the government of Liberia is expected to back the money in twenty years' period.

"We're doing these things to ensure that the cost of energy is reduced in our country," Minister Konneh told the press gathering.

"This will also encourage more investors to come and invest in the economy. Business people, too, will have the opportunity to make use of cheap energy. We've all realized that without energy there's nothing much we can do. Energy is keen to driving our economy and moving the country forward, especially in its development plan."

He promised that the agreement will also help the government to clear its domestic debts in about three to five years. According to Konneh, the deal would also see more investments coming to the country once the energy process is completed.

"So, we're targeting Christmas 2015 or else, some of us will not have a job. The president has tasked us to do that. And she's very clear about that. So, we're working with everybody now to do that," Minister Konneh said.

In order to ensure that the job is done on time, Minister Konneh disclosed that resources have already been mobilized revealed further that the GOL would put in US$47milliom for the hydro project for the next three years.

"So far, we've mobilized some of the resources. The government is going to contrite about $US47mllion through the budget over the period of three years" Minister Konneh disclosed.

"The owners engineer (The consultancy firm who designed the hydro) Stanley Consultants, have already been hired, and they're now with us at the LEC because they have the original design.

"The big process or the turbine has started, and it's at a no objection stage now, and that the procurement process is also ongoing well. We've cleared the road from the main drive way leading to the hydro. We've cleared the entire highway leading to the hydro. And, we're hoping that the procurement process would be completed by February, and the public would begin to see some movements in terms of cranes and iron bars."

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