26 March 2014

Liberian Legislature Approves Kuwaiti's Petroleum Deal

Monrovia — Efforts by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to convince the National Legislature to ratify the loan agreement for the rehabilitation of the Port of Greenville in Sinoe County days after appointing her son Robert Sirleaf as Liberia's oil envoy to that Arab Nation has yielded results with a concurrence by the House of Representatives with the Senate on the loan agreement.

Last month, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wrote the Legislature to ratify the loan agreement between the Port of Greenville and the Kuwait Arab Economic Development barely two weeks after the appointment of Robert as special envoy to the Arab nation to lead government's negotiation efforts on petroleum products.

During Tuesday march 25, 2014 session at the House of Representatives, the Ways Means and Finance Committee, Chaired by Representative Emmanuel Nuquay of Margibi County and the Judiciary Committee, Chaired by Bomi County Representative Gayah Karmo, submitted their reports to plenary in response to a mandate given them by the body requesting the two committees to investigate the loan agreement and advise the body before ratification.

In the two committees report among several findings, it stated that the interest of 1.5% to be paid on the loan principal of four million (4,000,000) Kuwaiti Dinar (US$14,000,000.00) as viewed by the committees as favorable for the purpose of the pending project.

The Committees also stated that given the interest amount, the project is feasible and the government of Liberia (the guarantor) stands to benefit from a reasonable repayment condition.

The Legislative Committees also claimed that the additional charge of 0.5% per annum on the amount withdrawn and on the balance of said loan is considered to be realistic, in meeting the cost of administration and implementation of the project. The joint committee in their report also said, the amount of the loan is sufficient to undertake the project.

"This amount will ensure that the port of Greenville rehabilitation is carried on properly, and completion of the facility will bring enormous relief to the country," the Committees stated in the report to plenary.

According to the Committees the scheduled amortization plan, provided in the annex to said agreement for the loan repayment, the loan amount shall be repaid in a reasonable time frame a total of (44) payments on a semi-annual basis shall be made to complete repayment within a 22 year-period.

"In view of the above analysis, honorable speaker, Honorable deputy speaker, distinguished colleagues, we are of the overwhelming conviction that plenary should approve the loan agreement because it will make a significant impact on the country's development," the Committees recommended.

The US$14 Million project involves the rehabilitation works required to fully re-open the port of Greenville, shipwreck removal, construction of the port, roads, container yard and shoreline fence, according to the President in a communication to the legislature.

In her February communication the President told the lawmakers that the project will also include service boat ramp, rehabilitation of the port buildings and utility networks, and the installation of security system and navigational aid.

The project is also expected to include the procurement of marine's crafts and Cargo handling equipment consultancy service for the design and supervision of the civil works and institutional support.

"In view of the above and with the aim of bolstering economic activities along the southeastern corridor of Liberia, thereby contributing to the economic and social development of our nation, I ask for ratification of the loan agreement," stated President Sirleaf in the letter dated February 17, 2014 and addressed to the House of Representatives in session.

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