The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: CBL's Leaf Program Gives Over L$181 Million

As part of the second phase of its Loan Extension and Availability Facility(LEAF), the Central Bank of Liberia has released over L$181m to several Liberians. The CBL last Thursday released L$ 68, 640, 000 to Credit Unions, L$7,000,000 to Microfinance Institutions and L$42,853,120 to Village Saving and Loan Associations.

During a program marking the release of the loan packages to 262 institutions at an elaborate ceremony held in Ganta, Nimba County, CBL Executive Governor, Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, stressed the need for Liberians to be empowered economically if the country's economy must be truly in the hands of the citizenry.

Dr. Jones said the exercise is also in line with the President of Liberia's recent annual message which calls for economic transformation noting that it is good for the country not to only be growing economically but for it to have an impact on the lives of the citizens.

The CBL Executive Governor who also lauded the effort of the Board of Governors of the Central Bank said Liberians must not go down the road where there is no growth and development stressing that indeed it is time for economic transformation.

Governor Jones said the CBL supports Liberian businesses and not only those ones that operate in Monrovia but also those that operate in every part of the country.

Governor Jones challenged the beneficiaries to pay back the loans as this will enable the bank to continue to reach out to others who might be in needof similar assistance. "I want you to make me look in the faces of those who believe that Liberians cannot pay back loans and say it is not true; Liberians can pay back loans," Dr. Jones assured. He stated further that Liberia believes in foreign investments but noted that when Liberians are empowered to take charge of their economy, then true development will come to the country.

Also speaking at the ceremony, Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson praised CBL Governor Jones for being the only Governor of the Central Bank to think about the economic empowerment of the people through the granting of microfinance loans.

The beneficiaries of the loan scheme commended the CBL and its Board of Governors for instituting the LEAF program and called for training in the areas that the proper management of microfinance loans and credit unions' activities as this would make the exercise more meaningful.

The beneficiaries also called on the CBL to extend its United States Dollars auction to their various local as this will enable them to have access to United States to do their businesses.

In June of last year, the CBL gave similar loans to 102 institutions and is in the process of increasing the capacity of Liberian businesses; people in the agricultural sector and recently released another package exclusively for mortgage.

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