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Liberia-China seal deal on RIA’s Upgrade

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President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has written members of the Liberian Legislature seeking the ratification of a Concessional loan in the tune of US50 million between the Governments of Liberia and the Export-Import Bank of China for the upgrade and expansion project of the Roberts International Airport.

Liberia China

The president’s letter dated September 21, 2016 to the Legislatures was sent hours after both Governments of Liberia and the People’s Republic of China signed a framework agreement for the provision of said loan.

The concessional loan has a 20 year maturity period, which includes a grace period of 7 years with an annual loan interest rate of 2 %. It has a management fee of 0.5%, and a commitment fee of the same percentage-0.5.

“All of the proceeds of the loan facility shall be used and applied by the Government to solely pay one hundred (100%) of the commercial contract amount with China Harbor Engineering Company Limited, which is the Chinese supplier,” Mrs. Sirleaf letter said.

A release from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), concerning the loan agreement said it’s a bilateral agreement, which is in accordance with further developing the friendly relations, economic and technical cooperation between the two countries.

Finance and Development Planning Minister, Boima S. Kamara and Justice Minister, Counselor Fredrick Cherue, signed and attested respectively, on behalf of the Liberian Government, the release said.

The release quotes MinisterKamaraas describing the rehabilitation of the RIA as key to Liberia’s economic transformation, thus leading to an increase in the airport’s capacity to serve more flights, passengers, reinvigorate the economy and grow tourism.

He was further quoted to have described the agreement as a major step towards bringing the airport up to standard, adding that the support shows Liberia’s strong partnership with China and alsoreaffirmedPresidentSirleaf’s commitment to implement the Agenda for Transformation. He said the project is an important symbol for Liberia.

With the signing of the framework agreement between the two Governments on Wednesday, September 21, 2016,the Liberian Government through the MFDP is expected to sign the concessional loan agreement with the creditors, the EXIM Bank of China.

By Othello B. Garblah

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