President Weah launches $3m pro-poor loan scheme

President Weah speaks at the launch ceremony

Liberian President George Manneh Weah has fulfilled yet another major promise—this time launching a US$3 million Pro-Poor Loan scheme aimed at empowering struggling Liberian businesses surmount their longtime spectators’ role in the Liberian economy.

During the 2017 elections campaign and in his inaugural speech early this year, the President promised that he would enunciate policies and programs towards the empowerment of Liberians to take custody of the Liberian economy and not be mere spectators in it.

The launching of the US$3 million micro-finance loan scheme for Liberian businesses Wednesday, December 19 heralds concrete steps by President Weah to place citizens into a controlling position of the economy.

In brief remarks at Red-Light community near the Paynesville branch of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) where he launched the scheme, the president said one of his greatest desires has been to find ways by which Liberian-owned businesses would benefit from loans to move them from low to high business levels, from market to manufacturing.

“Since I took over as President of the Republic, there have been so many programs and occasions in which I have participated to support and advance the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, our national development plan,” the President said. Continuing, Pres. Dr. George M. Weah said “the launch of this scheme is just another milestone in helping you overcome poverty and become masters of your own destinies.”

The Liberian leader said the launch of the Pro-Poor Loan Scheme was a fulfillment of the promise he made in his inaugural address—that Liberians will not be spectators in their own economy.

He reassured Liberian businesses that his government would prioritize their interest and offer programs to help them become more competitive.

President Weah said: “Today is the launch of the Liberian Business Development Fund (LBDF); we are here today to witness a promise fulfilled. The LBDF has been established by my government as a multimillion loan scheme exclusively for Liberian businesses and micro-finance institutions.”

He indicated Liberians will have borrowing access to the LBDF to enable them produce goods and services for the domestic market.

“My desire is to strengthen and support you—the Liberian business community—so that ordinary business people will be able to move from sidewalks to stores,” the President further disclosed. “This is to help them move from the level of petit markets to manufacturing and from being spectators to being active participants in the national economy; so that in the near future, Liberian businesses will be able to take ownership of the Liberian economy.”

The president disclosed that the interest rate on the loan scheme is pro-poor in nature, one of the lowest in the Liberian financial market, with flexible collateral requirement and payment procedure over time.

He admonished potential borrowers that the loans are not free money and that they must exercise responsibility and seriousness in repaying their loans on time in order to create access for other Liberians who may want to borrow.

The Liberian leader asserted that the micro-loan scheme will be available and accessible in all the 15 political sub-divisions of Liberia and will be intended for vulnerable business struggling to recover and compete.

The president used the occasion to assure Liberians that his government would use every available cent on developing the country.

“I want to say this to the Liberian people: when I was a professional soccer player, I used my own money for your benefit and to develop you. Certainly, I will use your money on you to develop our country,” he averred.