--Signs US$3.7M out of $40M Fisheries Agreement with World Bank
Samuel D. Tweah Jr, Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has assured Liberians that beginning this year (2020), the country will begin to experience economic recovery and prosperity.
Minister Tweah, made the expression on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 when he signed the Preparatory Project Advancement Agreement of US$3.7 million out of US$40 million Fisheries Agreement between the World Bank and the Government of Liberia.
He assured officials of government present at the signing ceremony that the government is fully committed to achieving the mandate and development vision of President George Manneh Weah. The mandate, he says, calls for addressing the economic challenges facing Liberians.
Minister Tweah, who acknowledged challenges faced by Liberians in 2019, stated that the government is working with vigor to turn things around in 2020 and the years moving forward.
He lauded the World Bank for its numerous development support to Liberia's recovery process and said the project when fully implemented will boost the fisheries sector of Liberia.
"Going forward, there will be challenges, but we are going to overcome them through the robust implementation of the mandate of the President," Minister Tweah averred.
He said the country is currently making progress with regard to the fiscal and monetary sectors, adding that confidence is being restored at the Central Bank of Liberia. The Minister acknowledged significant reforms done in the fiscal and monetary spheres which have begun to yield positive results.
He disclosed that the government is currently working with the World Bank to deliver on the pavement of the Ganta-Zwedru road corridor and that 'yellow machines' for the pavement will arrive during Dry Season of 2021.
He added that the second stretch from Tappita to Zwedru is set for 2022.
Tweah also mentioned that when completed, the Sanniquellie-Laquatuo, will serve as trade link with Cote d'Iviore and boost trade and commerce along that corridor.
Speaking further, Tweah added that the government of Liberia has paid all arrears owed the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation nearly all of which predates the current government.
He disclosed further that government has begun processing the payment of about US$600,000 of US$1 million owed the Liberia Electricity Corporation and that additional payments to clear the entire debt to the Corporation will be made in the next few weeks..
Meanwhile, Minister Tweah has thanked the World Bank for its support to the government, and the meaningful projects they have supported under this administration.
He noted that Liberia's partnership with the World Bank is expected to move toward transformative and impactful projects for jobs creation.
He added that the Bank is looking toward additional financing in the amount of US$75 million for scaling up agriculture.
The Minister thanked the Director of the National Fishery Authority Emma Glassco for her passion and outstanding leadership aimed at transforming the fisheries sector.
For his part, World Bank Country Manager, Dr. Khwima Nthara, said the Bank believes making an impact in the fisheries sector will be transformative, and that supporting Liberia in the right and significant way was important.
The Country Manager expressed the hope that Liberia can get the requisite qualification from EU to enable the sector gain access to the EU market and thereby attract significant investments.
The Project, he said, will help monitoring capabilities by putting in place systems for industrial fishing, while increasing sea patrols to curtail illegal fishing.
The new project, according to him, will involve investments in improving management of selected fisheries, improving handling of fish and fish products and support to aquaculture.
He furthered the project will be implemented in Montserrado and four other sites to be selected in four coastal counties; adding that it is currently at the preparatory/design stage and will need to be participatory and consultative.
He enjoined NaFAA and the West African Fishery Authority to integrate lessons.
Dr. Nthara also expressed commendations for the development vision of President Weah's government which is embedded in the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development and assured the Bank's continual support.
The US$40 million project titled "Sustainable Management of the Fisheries Project" aims to sustain the gains of the West African Regional Fisheries Project (WARFP) in Liberia and develop national capacities to improve the value-added and increase the economic contribution of the fisheries sector and the restoration of key infrastructure to enhance the sector's contribution to the economy.
The new World Bank National Fisheries Project will focus on the rehabilitation and expansion of the Mesurado Fishing Pier to a state-of-the-art modern fishing port with onshore processing facilities for value addition.
The Project will also prioritize the establishment of landing jetties in five coastal counties with densely populated fishing communities such as Montserrado, Grand Bassa among others in an effort to reduce huge post-harvest loss and supply the domestic market with high quality of fish products which has a fish demand deficit of 33, 000 metric tons.