The NEWS (Monrovia)

Liberia: CBL Gives Over Five Million Loan

The Central Bank of Liberia last Friday gave US$5 million and L$129,750,000 loan as stimulus package for the resuscitation of the rubber industry.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, the CBL Executive Governor Dr. Joseph Mills Jones said the initiative is government way of reaffirming its commitment to the revitalization of the rubber sector.

He described the loan as "stimulus package" for struggling rubber farmers for the resuscitation of their production.

Dr. Jones stated that the industry was affected due to the drop of rubber on the world market, which required government intervention.

"The drastic reduction is very much serious and needs urgent intervention to make the sector operational," he said.

He said the loan will enhance the industry's ability to intervene in the foreign exchange market and support stability of the exchange rate and boost the economy of the country.

Dr. Jones further noted that the revitalization of the industry was important considering that it is one of the larger employment sectors in the country.

He said the rubber sector is a major economic activity that should not be left alone without government's intervention in its difficult period.

"We need to support the sector because it provides employment opportunity to a larger population in the country. If you don't support the sector, large number of our citizens will be out of job," Dr. Jones noted.

The loan, according to him, will be managed by the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI).

For his part, Mr. Ben Garnnet, president of the Rubber Planter Association thanked the government for the loan and stressed the need for collaborative efforts to make the sector vibrant.

He said the government should stand by the farmers in stabilizing the situation the rubber sector is faced with.

Garnnet said the current situation facing rubber farmers has led to their inability to service their payroll that cost him at least US$1,000,000 monthly.

He said rubber farmers were finding it difficult to acquire loans which have even made the situation complex, but noted that government's latest intervention would help curtail most of the difficulties facing them.

Ben Garnett spoke about drop in production in 2013 which has cost them over millions of United States dollars, noting that if measures are not put into place they are expected to record more loses.

Earlier, Mr. John Davis, President of LBDI challenged the association to make sure that the loan is paid back.

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