11 May 2018

Liberia: Roads Loan Agreement Lands At Senate

The full plenary of the Liberian Senate receives a loan agreement bill from President George Manneh Weah, seeking US$536,400,000 ratification. The loan agreement is intended to pave the southeastern roads, Gbarpolu and Grand Cape Mount roads, respectively.

The communication dated May 7, was read in senate plenary on Thursday, 10 May. President Weah writes, "I am pleased to submit to your honorable body for ratification a loan financing agreement between Eton Finance PTE ltd and the Liberian government in the tone of US$536,400,000.00 (five hundred thirty-sixty million, four hundred thousand United States Dollars)."

According to the communication, the objective of the loan is to finance the coastal corridor connection of county capitals road project, the construction of the Buchanan-Cestos City, Greenville-Barclayville-Sasstown Road; the Barclayville -Pleebo Road; the Medina-Robertsport Road; and the Tubmanburg-Bopolu Road, respectively.

Also to be constructed are rest stops and roadside service areas, construction of vocational training center in Greenville, Sinoe County, mini soccer stadiums in Harper, Maryland County, Barclayville, Grand Kru County; Greenville, Sinoe County; Cestos City, Rivercess County; Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County; Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County; and Bopolu, Gbarpolu County, respectively.

The President explains that the principal amount of the loan is payable in 15 years by level payment at an interest rate of 1.4 percent per annum, with a seven-year interest and principal free grace period.

"The contractor of the project shall be the JVC or Consortium comprising MAEIL Liberia Constructions Company, a major Chinese engineering, procurement and construction company and subcontractors comprising Liberian-owned and operated construction and engineering companies, all to be vetted and confirmed by the Ministry of Public Works in respect of their technical capacities", the letter from the Executive further points out.

Early last month, a delegation headed by the Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah, Justice Minister Musa Dean, Minister of State Nathaniel McGill and Legal Advisor to the President, Archibald F. Bernard, departed Liberia for Asia, amid murmurs that a deal for the southeast road project was in the works.

The group returned to Monrovia from Japan and Hong Kong, respectively with what insiders in the government are trumpeting as a great reward for the President's plans to construct a coastal highway that would link Monrovia with the southeast region.

The delegation reportedly signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a US$536 million dollar agreement to access funding for the implementation of the project.

--Editing By Jonathan Browne

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