22 August 2014

Liberia: U.S.$19 Million Loan Agreement Halted

The House of Representatives has rejected a report for the ratification of a US$19,200,000 agreement between the Liberian Government and the International Development Association.

The agreement was submitted to the House of Representatives for ratification by the Executive Branch.

The agreement under the title: "Second Additional Financing Agreement for Urban and Rural Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project, is aimed at improving access to road in the city of Monrovia and targeted rural roads as well as building institutional capacities to manage the country's road sector.

It will address the rehabilitation of a 24 kilometer road on major streets in Monrovia, repair sidewalks, upgrading of Center Street, provide provision of technical assistance to the Ministry of Public Works, reviewing proposals for the replacement of the Caldwell Bridge and the rehabilitation of the Plebo-Barclayville road.

The House's decision to place the ratification of the agreement on hold followed a report from its committee on Ways, Means and Finance and Judiciary calling for the agreement to be ratified without delay.

But majority members of the House following the reading of the committee's report protested the agreement ratification on grounds that explanation is required.

Representatives including Byron Browne, Gabriel Smith, Thomas Fallah and James Biney called on their colleagues not to ratify the agreement because it does not explain how the money will be used to benefit other counties of Liberia.

Representative Browne and others further said the agreement does not need any ratification because the justifications provided by the Executive are not realistic.

They said on several occasions the House of Representatives ratified agreements worth millions of dollars in the name of addressing challenges being experience in the rural parts of the country, but there has been no visible sign of improvement.

For Representative Samuel Koga of Nimba County, he warned his colleagues to be careful in ratifying loan for the country because the Ministry of Public Works is yet to provide 'blue print' for road connectivity.

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