In the wake of challenging economic situation in Liberia, the World Bank and Liberian authorities have signed a financing agreement totaling US$40 million dollars as direct budgetary support for FY2019/2020.The signing ceremony took place at the World Bank Liberia’s Country Office on Wednesday, 18 March.
Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., represented the Government of Liberia, while Dr. Khwima Nthara, World Bank Country Manager, represented the Bank.
Minister Tweah expressed delight and appreciated the World Bank Liberia Country Team, Accra-Ghana Team and staffs in Washington DC for their well-coordinated approach, which led to the successful signing ceremony. Mr. Tweah disclosed that the financing is a budget support, and not a “package” for the Corona Virus Pandemic.
“Today signing is part of 2019/2020 budget year and it is … significant to buttress government’s operations, but this arrived at a time where we’re experiencing the virus,” he says.
Mr. Tweah adds that the government is also planning to engage the International Monitory Fund through its Mission Chief for possible support for the country, given the economic situation as a result of COVID – 19 pandemic.
For his part, World Bank Liberia’s Country Manager, Dr. Khwima Nthara, affirms the bank’s commitment to support the country’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.
Dr. Nthara explains that the financing agreement is in two forms which includes US$20 million as grant and US$20 million as IDA credit. He indicates that the signing was approved on March 17, 2020, by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors.
‘’The financing could not have come at a better time to Liberia, given the fiscal challenges that the country has faced due to many shocks,” Dr. Nthara says.
He believes that fiscal challenges are likely to be exacerbated by the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We also plan to go back to our Board soon to seek the approval of additional support under the recently announced Fast Track Facility to help Liberia fight the COVID 19 pandemic,” he assures.
Dr. Nthara discloses that the Government of Liberia has been implementing and continues to implement various reforms, first of which was stabilizing the macro economy, which resulted in the approval of the program of International Monitory Fund (IMF) in December last year.
He points out that the second reform which underpinned the budget support focused on removing distortion and constraints on economic growth as well as ensuring that the poorer and the most vulnerable people in Liberia are protected from adverse impact of economic shocks.
Moreover, he says, when these reforms are implemented, they will improve the availability of quality seeds in the country; and notes that the reforms are also critical to transformation of the agriculture sectors.
He also mentions the new business plan for the Liberia Electricity Cooperation.
In addition to the above mentioned reforms, he discloses that the government has informed the bank that it is in the process of establishing a national household social registrar which will be used as a platform for objectivity, identifying and targeting beneficiary of various social protection programs.—Press release