The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning along with Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment have signed a US$2 million Small Business Pro-Poor Development Fund Loan Scheme aimed at empowering Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) and Village Savings & Loans Associations (VSLAs) in and around the country for payment over three years period at the interest rate of seven percent.
Signing of the US$2million Small Business Pro-Poor Development Fund Loan Scheme took place on Thursday, January 17, 2019 in the conference room of the Ministry of Commerce.
According to Finance and Development Planning Minister, Hon. Samuel D. Tweah Jr, today’s loan signing is a signature project from the President’s Inauguration Speech during which he assured that Liberians will not be spectators in their own economy.
Minister Tweah described affording Liberian-owned small businesses access to loans through the Fund as one of the tangible and practical steps in fulfilling the President’s promise about Liberians participation in the economy.
‘’ This loan is minimum, but a maximum will depend on the performance of this initiative. I hope you will hear it from the President that he is willing to do more and the bank is also willing to do more and increase it contribution ’’, he added.The Treasury Boss said the Pro-Poor Development Fund Loan scheme is meant to support private sectors expansion, business activities, support innovation but not consumption.
He emphasized, ‘’ we’re not signing this loan for people to consume the fund.”He said that the government has learned from previous ventures and things that went wrong in the past five years and would help Liberians to succeed with capital supply and productive activities.
For his part, the President of Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, Hon. John S. Davis, applauded the President for his demonstrated commitment to improving Liberians participation in the economy through conceiving the idea of a Loan Fund for Liberian-owned small businesses. He also expressed gratitude for the government recognizing the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment as a financial institution to work with in actualizing the vision.
He stated that during the loan process, LBDI family will create a separate unit in the bank to follow up all transactions between the customers and the bank. He disclosed that the bank will also dedicate officers with the full responsibilities to follow up on each and every borrower potential under the program.
He assured entrepreneurs and other small business organizations that he wants to be a vehicle of success than failure during this loan process.The Bank’s president stated that the loan is being backed by a comprehensive vetting framework that will ensure all concerns are addressed.
The signing ceremony was attended by Ministers of Finance and Commerce, President for Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, private sector actors, entrepreneurs, and representatives of small business organizations.