Following prolonged discussions and negotiations, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Amara M. Konneh, has on behalf of the Liberian Government, signed a US$20 Million loan agreement with the Saudi Fund for Development to assist with the rehabilitation of the Roberts International Airport (RIA’s) runway.
According to a press release, the ceremony took place on the sidelines of the annual IMF-World Bank Spring Meeting held in Washington, DC.
Minister Konneh, who commended the Saudis for accepting the Government’s appeal, assured the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Saudi Fund for Development, Yousef Al-Bassam, who signed on behalf of his organization, that all necessary modalities will be put in place as soon as possible for the smooth implementation of the project.
Mr. Al-Bassam expressed his institution’s willingness and readiness to provide assistance to the Liberian government in its quest to improve or replace damage infrastructures, given the destruction of major facilities in the country.
According to a dispatch, the Saudi’s fund is part of a pool fund of US$57 Million for the rehabilitation works. Already, the Government of Liberia has concluded arrangements with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Arab Bank for Economic Development to assist with bridging the funds.
Prior to the signing, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning had earlier signed similar agreement with the European Investment Bank to provide 27 million United States Dollars and the Arab Bank for Economic Development (BADE) additional 10 million United States Dollars to complete the financing target.
The Government of Liberia is expected to contribute US$3 Million to complete the required financing for the project.
The dispatched further noted that the rehabilitation exercise will focus on upgrading the RIA runway and the total rehabilitation of the Taxiway A and B as well as widening the Taxiway fillets.
Consistent with the concessional nature of this facility, the loan will be amortized over a period of 20 to 40 years with an interest rate of two percent.
In another development, Minister Konneh has formally requested for financing for the pavement of the Gbarnga-Mendikorma Highway to the Saudi Fund and other Middle Eastern development lenders, including the Kuwait Fund, Abu Dhabi Fund, and the Arab Bank for Development in Africa, among others.