SINCE ASSUMING HIS second five-year term in office, Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Executive Governor, Dr. J. Mills Jones and his Board of Governors have worked to empower Liberians economically as evidenced from the numerous loans and stimulus packages the CBL continues to release to the public. Ranging from a stimulus package to enhance the economic capacity of Liberian businesses, to a fabulous loan package to stimulate Liberian farmers and the Housing Mortgage Scheme, the Jones administration has undoubtedly been touching the lives of Liberians economically.
THE CBL EXECUTIVE Governor and the bank's Board of Governors as a means of strengthening this exercise at times if not all of the time traveled to the hinterland of our country to ensure that this initiative is one that is workable and practical by reaching those who are the targeted groups such as market women, farmers and other beneficiaries who up to press time have been expressing good sentiment as a result of this patriotic work. Due to the keen attention of the Governor and the Board of Governors to ensure the success of this venture, Liberians in all of the fifteen political sub-division of the country are now busy working to improve their lives since access to finance was the impediment, but the Jones administration has helped them hurdle that.
BUT WHILE THIS worthy venture is been executed by extension to the Liberian Business Association (LIBA), there seems to be some negative utterances from some individuals in certain quarters. Some are of the view that the Governor and his Board of Governors are now in the business of sharing or dividing money to people, something which these individuals do not know about the function of the Central Bank. These individuals have advanced an argument that the CBL is only to ensure economic stability; a situation which we believe prompted the CBL Governor to provide some clarifications relative to the operation of the Bank.
THE CBL BOSS, in an apparent response to these critics said the mandate of the CBL includes stimulating economic growth through the use of monetary instruments as indicated in part II paragraph 2e of the CBL Act. He also said this mandate also includes fostering monetary, credit and financial conditions conducive to orderly, balanced and sustained economic growth and development as enshrined in part II paragraph 3e of the CBL Act. He further clarified that the Bank's mandate includes providing credit to bank-financial institutions on a discretionary basis as indicated in part II section 4 paragraph 3 of the CBL Act.
WHILE WE WELCOME this explanation from the Executive Governor, we think the process is a good initiative being undertaken by CBL and as such should be embraced by all and not only businessmen and women who are beneficiaries. We also do not want to believe that the CBL is sharing money around as is been speculated. It is no secret that these funds are purely given out on loan basis that comes through the various commercial banks with low interest rate. Indeed it is a means of economically empowering Liberians if they must play a pivotal role the economic viability of the country. With such an exercise, Liberians can become major players in the economic affairs of Liberia, a country which economy is basically in the hands of foreign nationals. This is a welcome initiative.
WHAT SHOULD CONCERN most Liberians now is that these loans should be repaid on time so as to enable the CBL extend such initiative to others who wish to benefit. Because people have to pay back these loans does not mean the bank is dividing money around but trying to empower indigenous businesses. Our concern should be the repayment of the loans, be it the Housing Mortgage Scheme, the Agriculture and Business Loans because the exercise is not a grant. Let's support the success of this initiative and stop doing our usual Liberian thing by criticizing everything.
WE SHOULD TAKE this exercise seriously as it will undoubtedly improve the economic condition of the lives of our people and bring our country on par with others in our sub-region economically.