"The Central Bank of Liberia believes in getting things done. The Central Bank of Liberia believes in change for the better, and we measure our effort by extent to which we can strengthen the economy to the benefit of all Liberians," Central Bank of Liberia(CBL) Executive Governor Dr. J. Mills Jones said when he officially launched the Collateral Registry of Liberia yesterday.
Dr. Jones further said, "And it is in this vein that we have continued to pursue a reform agenda, leading to a stronger and more inclusive financial system."
The CBL Boss said improving access to credit is an important part of that agenda, saying, "And this is why the theme of the Liberia Collateral Registry that is being launched today is promoting secured lending and responsible borrowing".
He stressed that access to credit is not a one-way street, where the focus is only on the borrower who presents a request for credit, and pointed out that the creditor, the institution lending the money, be it a bank or some other institution, may need some assurance in the form of a collateral in order to agree to provide the loan.
"So this Collateral Registry should be helpful to small and medium-sized businesses to enable them easily use their movable assets for collateral to get a loan," Governor Jones explained.
Governor Jones said these movables include farm products, consumer or household goods, equipment, motor vehicles, inventory and accounts receivable and added "in short, the Liberia Collateral Registry should help Liberian businessmen or women to get access to credit, using things that they have that before could not count as collateral."
Dr. Jones told the audience comprising business people of all shade that an inclusive financial system must be seen as an essential pillar of the fight to lift Liberians out of poverty. "This is why we work to bring into reality programs, such as this, that we will allow marketers, pehn-pehn riders, sewing machines and farm products, as collateral to borrow from the banks," he said.
"When we talk about our vision for a new Liberian economy, among others, is what we mean. We must work to ensure that all Liberians are involved in our march towards economic transformation. And so we are working along with our partners to put in place the infrastructure to support that vision of a new Liberian economy. The progress that we seek will not be automatic, so we must begin to lay the foundation if we are to succeed. And we will succeed," Dr Jones said amidst applause from the audience.
He disclosed that the registry will start with two public access sites, one being stationed at the CBL's Training Center located on Carey and Warren Streets, and the second at the Headquarters of the Liberia Business Association (LIBA).
"And we are proud that LIBA has reached this point to be able to collaborate with the CBL in this important venture. I understand that there are some LIBA county coordinators who are here today. Efforts will be made to establish other public access sites at various LIBA's chapters in and around the country as well as with other institutions to make access convenient and accessible. It should be noted that with the technology of the registry, the system can be accessed by smart phones, personal computers, etc. with internet connectivity from your home, office or anywhere," the Governor stated.
The Collateral Registry of Liberia was made possible through the collaboration of the CBL and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group.
IFC has worked with Liberia's Central Bank to develop the legal framework and draft the regulations that will govern the operations of the registry, and is also helping Liberia implement and run the project.
IFC has supported the development of collateral registries in Afghanistan, China, Ghana, Colombia, Vietnam, and in other countries, where they are successfully contributing to private sector growth.
At the launching, good sentiments came from the IFC, the Liberia Business Association (LIBA), the Commercial Court, Liberia Bankers Association and the Liberia Chamber of Commerce.