Central Bank of Liberia’s (CBL) Executive Governor Dr. J. Mills Jones has made it plain to his critics that he holds no apologies for helping Liberians through the CBL loan scheme which, he said, is meant to buttress the fight of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf‘s Administration against poverty in the country.“What we are trying to do is to provide resources that will enable our people to work and help themselves. We at the CBL see nothing wrong with that if our people’s lives must be improved. If we must take a chance on anyone or anybody we must take a chance on ourselves. We must take chances on our very selves if somebody else is going to take a chance on us. I will not apologize for helping our people”—and by extension, our nation, he tacitly made the psychological connection. The CBL Executive Governor made these comments in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County where he dedicated the newly constructed Unity Savings Credit Union building. He had performed a similar ceremony in Fish Town, River Gee County and in Barclayville, Grand Kru County. Although Governor did not say to whom he was referring, analysts say that the 53rd Legislature—whose members had tried to make something negative out the widely applauded way he runs the Central Bank—could not be overlooked as targets for his praises. The lawmakers had turned Dr. Jones into a folk-hero by suggesting that his financial method was shrouded in political aggrandizement. They even went as far as orchestrating (arranging, scheming) a recent amendment to the CBL Act, mandating that CBL governors with an interest in elective positions resigned from the Bank three consecutive years before plunging into politics. But Governor said that “if we are going to build an economy based on more equitable distribution of income, then Liberians need to be empowered.” He said building a middle class (middle income economy) is crucial for the foundation of securing Liberia’s democracy, adding that “we must empower Liberians financially.” “Helping Liberians should be discussed? It is not an option, but a responsibility. It is imperative and we do it in order to move forward. This is why the CBL is trying to do by offering a helping hand to our people. We are not giving handouts. We are not on the street distributing money to people. We work with Village Saving Loan Associations and Credit Unions in order to achieve this goal,” the CBL boss clarified. The CBL Executive Governor believes that “if we have to develop Liberia, we must work by creating an environment that would encourage people to work. This financial institution building that we are dedicating here today should be seen as a symbol to move forward,” Jones declared. The Governor insisted that Liberians should “look to the future and think bigger because it is the only way we can improve—by thinking big. You cannot get far by thinking small. Those who reach the sky were willing to think big and work hard. Progress comes through hard work and if we have to build our nation we have to build it ourselves. People can only help us, but at the end Liberians must build Liberia.” “We must understand the challenges we face. If people in villages and towns do not have something to give commercial banks in Monrovia as guarantee, what should we do? Should we fold our arms and continue to complain? It will not be enough. If we must fight poverty we should go where there is poverty. It is no secret that poverty is with the low-income earners, especially those in the towns and villages.” Repayment of CBL LoanMills Jones reported that borrowers are repaying the CBL loan. “People are repaying their loans. We are encouraging them. We are making progress because things don’t change overnight. We cannot keep doing the same old things and expect different results,” he stressed.Governor Jones informed the public that development is not a budget, meaning that development is about hard work and producing in order to get higher income. “By producing,” he said “you help the government significantly to get more income, through which government can in turn improve the living condition of its people.”He maintained that the CBL remains a friend of the private sector, where jobs will come from in helping the government meet its goal to fight and reduce poverty in the county.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Stabroek Wharf relocationIn their bid to resume operations, at the newly-established arcade at the Route 42 minibus park, several vendors have purchased goods, but they were stopped by authorities from doing so until all the stalls are completed.Incomplete stallsSpeaking with Guyana Times on Saturday, Muneshwar Samad explained that he has bought in excess of $45,000 in goods to commence operations, but was told that all the stalls should be completed first.He is among the many stallholders who were unable to receive word from City Hall about the status of their new stalls, since the Town Clerk and Mayor were unavailable on several occasions.One day after buying their goods, the vendors found the entrances to the newly-constructed arcade closed off and were informed that everyone must comply with the requirements before they could vend.“Some of us who were finished went over [to City Hall], nobody could speak to us if we can start selling, so we get some goods the day before yesterday. All of a sudden, they block off the entrance so people can’t come in and buy if they want and then they tell us that we have to wait now until the area [is] stable.”Samad explained that some vendors were dragging their feet on the pace of construction which is affecting others. As such, some of them are of the view that they should be able to access the area and utilise the stalls.“This is close to four month now since we don’t have a livelihood. Some people don’t have money to buy materials for the stand. We don’t know when they finishing so they should consider all of that.”Meanwhile, Yvonne (only name given) explained that her stall was on the outskirts of the demarcated area and was flanked by unregistered persons plying their trade.“Persons with umbrellas and tables by the fence selling whole day … So even if we open, I don’t know how I could sell if people can’t come in here,” the disheartened woman stated.She added, “The Council got to take some action against people that selling for free and disturbing we, because we paying them. They leaving their garbage all around and it’s really affecting everybody. They need to send people here to see what we have to deal with.”Two weeks ago, Samad told this publication that many concerns were raised about the number of vagrants in the area and some who were taking the liberty of spending their nights in the structures which were yet to be completed.“We never had this problem at first … Now, every day somebody is coming and they sleeping in the stalls…some bringing garbage and all kinda thing.”When the vendors resume operations, City Hall will be paid $3400 for the smaller stalls, measuring five feet by eight feet with a height of 13 feet. The standard size, measuring 10 feet by eight feet and 13 feet high, would cost vendors $6800 in rent per month.As a result of the collapse of a section of the Stabroek Wharf which resulted in the relocation, City Hall had informed that it was awaiting a response from Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson, as it relates to the next steps for the rehabilitation.