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Politics News

House ratifies US$420.8m loan agreement

The House of Representatives has ratified a lone agreement between EBOMAF SA and the Government of Liberia, totaling over US$400 Million for road construction.Thursday’s ratification brings to two, loan agreements approved by the House, totaling nearly US$1 Billion in just two days, amid serious public apprehension and criticism here.

Liberians are concern the government could obligate the country to huge foreign debts that the next generation would have to grapple with. The lawmakers on Tuesday [5th June] this week ratified a controversial US$536 Million Loan Agreement between the Government of Liberia and a private foreign company, Eton Finance PTE Limited to construct roads in southeast Liberia.

EBOMAF SA is a construction company based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Its president and CEO, Mahamadou Bonkoungou recently lent a plane to President George Weah to make several foreign travels besides providing cash to the President as gift.

The 54th Legislature’s joint committee on Ways, Means, and Finance and Development Planning and Judiciary reports that in keeping with its legislative mandate and oversight, it has appraised the proposed loan financing agreement for ratification in the amount of US$420,810,000.00 

The report says the objective of the agreement is to finance the design, construction, and supervision of 256.2km flexible road pavement corridors in Monrovia (Somalia Drive, Kesselly Boulevard to Sinkor –“16km”) and Northeastern Liberia (Tappita, Zwedru Road –“112”kms, and as well as the Toe Town to La Cote D’Ivoire, Ivory Coast -10.2kms and the Zwedru to Greenville; 185.5kms).

It details that the construction period shall be 36 months from the day of commencement which is three months after the deposit of the first tranche of the loan. The report notes that when ratified, the loan will seek to address the nightmare of inaccessibility of road networks in the northeastern region of Liberia, boost development initiatives in the areas of agriculture, education and health and will promote government’s de-centralization policy by ensuring effective delivery of goods and services across the geographical landscape of Liberia, among others.

It says the Government of Liberia under the term of the loan/financing agreement with EBOMAF SA shall issue a fixed interest Eurobond with a face value of US$420,810,000.00 payable in 15 years with a five-year interest and principal-free grace period plus 10 years of coupon payment.

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“Mr. Speaker, Distinguished Colleagues, the proposed Loan and Financing Agreement submitted to the National Legislature by the President of the Republic of Liberia in the wisdom of the Joint Legislative Committee on Ways, Means, Finance & Development Planning and Judiciary is timely and expressed an imperative need for the construction of a paved road networks in southeastern Liberia in terms of actualizing the Government of Liberia’s Pro-Poor Agenda”, the report concludes.

Meanwhile, the Liberian Senate will today, Friday, 7 June hold a special session on the US$536 Million financing loan agreement that was recently submitted to the Legislature by President George M. Weah aimed at constructing roads and undertaking other development projects in the country.

By Bridgett Milton -Editing by Jonathan Browne

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