A loan agreement, signed between Liberia and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa or BADEA, has been submitted to the House of Representatives for ratification.
According to the communication by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf read on the floor, the loan- intended to co-finance the rehabilitation of the Roberts International Airport or RIA, is in the amount of US$10 million dollars.
In a communication to House Speaker J. Alexander Tyler dated March 25, 2015, President Sirleaf noted that the interest rate on the loan is one percent per annum on the principal amount withdrawn and outstanding from time to time.
The Liberian Chief Executive also informed the House that interest and other eventual charges shall be payable semi-annually.
She said the government shall repay the principal of the loan in 40 semi-annual installments after a grace period of 10 years from the first day of the month following the first withdrawal from the loan account.
“In view of the important purpose of this financing arrangement and the need to rehabilitate the Roberts International Airport runway, I ask your ratification of this instrument,” President Sirleaf’s communication noted.
Following the reading of the letter in session on Tuesday, Plenary decided that the communication be sent it to the Committees on Ways and Means and Judiciary for review and recommendation, with the mandate to report in two weeks.
It can be recalled that in 1942, Liberia signed a Defense Pact with the United States under which the RIA was constructed along with other projects related to US military interests.
The airport was originally built by the United States Government as an Air Force base.
From 1943 to the end of World War II in 1945, the Robertsfield, as it was then known, served as an alternative base for a 26 squadron which flew Vickers Wellington Bombers on anti-submarine over the Atlantic.
By Ben P. Wesee