8 June 2018

Liberian Express Mixed Reactions Over Ratification of Pres. Weah Us$536m Loan Agreement

Monrovia — The $US536 million loan agreement ratified by the Legislature is sparking up debate from many quarters of the Liberian society. Some say the loan is completely out of the order while others view from a different lens.

They claim it would alleviate Liberians from poverty most especially in the Southeast from the many constraints they faced for years.

FrontPage Africa went on to talk to some Liberians.

Leroy Archie Ponpon, Rights Activist

"The rectification does not justify that the loan will come, it is about government's commitment and doing all in term of domestic and internal work to ensure the creditor that they want the loan.

However, there is a need to be economic outlook as to how Liberia can be able to pay 40 million USD. Is that possible? And if that is the case as to whatever debt we supposed to be paying by 2018 or 2019 in term of interest on the loan hasn't been borrowed by the Madam Sirleaf administration.

And so, if we are to pay the Eton Financing after seven years, have we started paying the previous year's loans we collected we say no and so, the economy outlet is not favorable. And if the President will do that economically, you will be strangulating the country.

We cannot just keep borrowing on the basis of not having austerity measure as to how we can streamline government expenditure that will involve us saving for investment for which we can now go back and toping old debts.

And so, the loan issue is a long road to success. And so, we might not anticipate that President Weah will bring loan here. No, I am not anticipating that, not by ratifying means that the loan will come."

Abayomi Tarplah Santi Jr., Resident of Doe Community

"I am impressed by the fact that in 2017 many of the political parties' campaign on the platform of road development and for the government to take a loan specifically for the building of roads, I think it is encouraging.

Now, we need to rally around the government so that the loan is used for the intended purpose. To admit, there are some issues that have been unfolding in the media surrounding the loan, how did it come and the history of those that are giving the loan.

But on a clear note, the intended purpose of this loan is to ensure that our people be alleviated from abject poverty. That is to connect our 15 political sub-divisions and I can assure you that once our 15 political sub-divisions are connected we will have a huge economic growth in term of moving our goods and services from the leeward counties and bringing them to Monrovia.

So, I believed that the issue of loan that will be directed to infrastructure and building of roads will be directly in the interest of the Liberians people."

Robert, EFFL Member

"As a conscience Liberian, I am very much disappointed in our brother we send at the Capitol Hill in parliament to represent us. I am disappointed in them because the loan in itself is wrong and anything that is not done properly is not done at all.

We support development; I come from Lofa County, far away from Montserrado County. For me to go home it takes two days. So, there is an impediment for me to go home. So, we all welcome development.

But how are we going about getting the money for development. CDC was in the opposition yesterday they criticized Madam Sirleaf, they said she was going all around and taking loan, they said the country was will be heavily indebted.

But today we have not gone five months the country is already in a billion debt by the CDC led government. I am more disappointed in the Speaker who compared Liberia's indebtedness to that of America, Europe, France; I wonder he has read sufficiently what led to their debts.

The Liberian government currently is doing business with individuals; we are even affair that they are doing business with money launder. Our point is: who you are taking the loan from. You went to Eton Finance who do not have any history to be traced, they have no bank account, they have no address.

Another one, the President he has a good friend who gives him a plane to boost his moral and after two days that his friend was giving him a very good contract. It is a violation of our laws.

So, my frustration to our brother and the ruling establishment is that the loan could be good, it may develop Liberia. In fact, we are not even sure that it will be used for development purpose, there is so much skepticism."

Mohamed Dubgeh, Student Activist

"The first thing is that the loan has made some background investigation about the company responsible to provide this loan. We have gathered sufficient evidence that this company lacks the financial uprightness to provide the loan.

In my mind, I think that the loan itself is shady because it has not gone through the PPCC procedure that which is a clear violation of our law. And if any of such, we must go by the PPCC procedure. We are not against the government taking loans because there is no government in the world that survives without taking loan or financial aid from other countries.

But in doing so you have to be transparent, you must be accountable because the loan is not free. Few years from now the loan will be mature and the Liberia government will be able to pay the loan back. So if you have to go into such a deal you have to be very much transparent and people must be held accountable for the intended purpose of this money."

Varfee JM Dukuly, UL Student

"Well, the loan is welcoming; I think our lawmakers have done the astute thing because the loan is in the best interest of the Liberians people. We only hope that our Lawmakers will play the oversight role where they will be able to see the money that comes to be used for the intended purpose.

It is welcome because Liberians especially those who lived in the hinterland have suffered for road for a very long time. Since 1847, there are certain parts of Liberia that have not received road. So, if President Weah can go out to lobby for our country, I think it is welcoming and I must appreciate the Lawmaker for ratifying the loan.

Romeo Fabuleh

"To have a pro-poor government taking loan about this time we believed it is going to cause several problems for our economy because for us to build our economy, we should first be able to look at those domestic stuffs and ensure that we get our economy in tight.

If we just go out there dealing with loan issue; I think it is going to leave our country in serious debts because every time government comes and go and it is all about Liberia own debt. This government is just coming to being and taking such loan I believed that it is going to leave Liberia into serious debts."

Dax Elliot, member of CEIO

"I am extremely disappointed by the loan and I think that the government has placed the survival of the people of Liberia on a very uncertain path. The path that would undermine any effort to achieve prosperity, social mobility, political transparency and the resurrection of our economy for the next decade or so to come.

We are not looking for the intent, what we are looking at is the ability of this dark road financial enterprise which market capitalization is yet unknown to source the imagined coastal road project is our concern.

When a government or anybody wants to enter an arrangement with somebody, what they do is the analysis of the portfolio or capacity you want to financial business with, but that has not done sufficiently with the Liberian government.

It is scaring, and we are concerned, it is not about the intention, you can use a good intention for a bad purpose. A loan whose payment will be carried by the ordinary Liberians must be scrutinized. That is our fear, we are worried. Why will the Legislature sit and allow the loan which beats the PPCC requirement to be passed by them. Are they part of the syndicate that the Executive has created?"

Fasu Kromah, UL Student

"First, I want to say thank you to our Lawmakers for ratifying this loan. It has positive effect on the ordinary Liberian people. For me, my mother is from the Southeast. And I know the tough time people from the Southeast faced.

To see our President going to look for the construction of the Southeastern road, I think it is a good venture. The road will bring huge benefit in agriculture, infrastructure and so on."

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