Central bank governor defends loan scheme

Governor Jones has no regrets about the loan policy

Governor Jones has no regrets about the loan policy

The executive governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Dr. Joseph Mills Jones says he holds no apologies for helping Liberians through the CBL’s  loan scheme.

The scheme, he said, is meant to buttress the fight of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf‘s administration against poverty in the country.

“What we are trying to do is to provide means whereby our people can work and help themselves. We at the CBL see nothing wrong with that if our people’s lives must be improved, he said, adding that “If we must a take chance on anyone or anybody we must take a chance on ourselves. We must take chances on our very selves if somebody else is going to take a chance on us. I will not apologize for helping people.”

The CBL boss made the statement in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County in the east of the country when he dedicated the newly-constructed Unity Savings Credit Union building after performing similar ceremonies in Fish Town and Barclayville in River Gee and Grand Kru County respectively.

Liberian legislators have criticized the governor’s policy and accused him of misusing public funds.

They also claimed that his financial method is shrouded in political aggrandizement, prompting a recent amendment in the CBL Act mandating that CBL governors with interest in elected positions resign three years prior to elections.

But Governor Jones said that “if we are going to build an economy based on more equitable distribution of income, then Liberians need to be empowered.”

He said building a middle class was crucial to secure Liberian democracy, adding that “we must empower Liberians financially.”

“Helping Liberians should be discussed. It is imperative and we must do it in order to move forward. This is why the CBL is trying to do by offering a helping hand to our people. We are not giving handouts. We are not on the street distributing money to people. We work with Village Saving Loan Associations and Credit Unions in order to achieve this goal,” he explained.

Dr. Jones believes that “if we have to develop Liberia, we must work by creating an environment that will encourage people to work. This financial institution building that we are dedicating here today should be seen as a symbol to move forward.”

He said that Liberian should “look to the future and think bigger because it is the only way we can improve by thinking big. You cannot get far by thinking small. Those who reach the sky were willing to think big and work hard. Progress comes through hard work and if we have to build our nation we have to build it ourselves. People can only help us, but at the end Liberians must build Liberia.

“We must understand the challenges we face. If people in villages and towns do not have something to give commercial banks in Monrovia as guarantee, what should we do? We should fold our arms and continue to complain? It will not be enough. If we must fight poverty we should go where there is poverty. It is no secret that poverty is with the low-income earners, especially those in the towns and villages.

“People are repaying their loans. We are encouraging them. We are making progress because things don’t change overnight. We cannot keep doing the same old things and expect different results.”

Governor Jones informed the audiences that development is not a budget, meaning that development is about hard work and producing in order to get higher income. By producing you help the government significantly to get more income through which government can in turn improve the living condition of its people.

He maintained that the CBL remains a friend of the private section, where jobs will come from in helping the government to meet its goal to fight and reduce poverty in our county.

Text & Photo Peter N. Toby