House Asked To Ratify US$19.7m Loan For Konia-Voinjama Road, Ratifies Investment Incentive Agreement Between Liberia and Star Cement Corporation

Capitol Building, the home of the Liberian lawmakers

(LINA) – The committees on Ways, Means and Finance, and Public Works have been directed by the plenary of the House of Representatives to review a loan agreement sent by President George Weah for ratification.

The communication from the Executive Mansion to plenary on Thursday, reads: “Loan Agreement – Upgrading of the Konia-Voinjama Road Project between Liberia and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.”

The President said the project, in the amount equivalent to Six Million Dinar (KD6, 000,000 or US$19.7m), is aimed at supporting the socioeconomic development of Liberia by providing reliable year-round land transportation in Lofa County.

When ratified by the Legislature, the agreement is expected to cause improvement of road connectivity and accessibility to places of work and social services for the inhabitants of the various towns and settlements along the way.

The interest rate of the loan is said to be one percent (1%) per annum on the principal amount of the loan withdrawn and outstanding from time-to-time.

In the President’s communication, it was further indicated that the principal amount and other charges of the loan shall be repaid in 42 semi-annual instalments on March 1, and September 1 in each year upon approval by the Legislature.

The project is due to be carried out, operated and maintained by the Ministry of Public Works through its Infrastructure Implementation Unit (IIU).

The Konia-Voinjama Road, according to the communication, is about 64 kilometres and consists of upgrading the existing gravel road to a two-lane asphalt pavement, according to appropriate standards.

“The road will be 7.5 meters wide with a 1.5 meter shoulder on each side, including drainage and repair works on seven bridges; the project implementation period is estimated to be four years and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022,” the communication said.

In a related development, the plenary of the House of Representatives On Thursday unanimously voted to ratify the Investment Incentive Agreement between Liberia and Star Cement Corporation.

President George Weah recently submitted the draft agreement to the Legislature for appropriate action.

The President’s communication earlier indicated that the agreement would result into the establishment of a cement grinding plant with a capacity to produce 600,000 tons of cement per annum.

The instrument was then received and forwarded to the House’s committees on Ways, Means and Finance, and Investment and Lands, Mines and Energy which were instructed to report to plenary in two weeks.

The committees’ report to plenary on Thursday sid they found confidence in the agreement as having economic worth that will drive the wishes of the investor to develop a cement grinding plant and expand trade and regional integration.

The report also showed that the plant, with an investment of over US$41 million, seeks to produce and supply cement on the local market and to other countries within the Mano River basin which the committees believe will bring economic dividends to the local economy, including through job creation.

In support to the government’s national development roadmap, the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), the report further stated that Star Cement’s investment specifically promises to create over 500 jobs during the construction of the plant, and 100 direct jobs when the main operations begin.

“To encourage investment in the cement industry that will place the value addition and job-creation for Liberians is in conformity with industrial best practices.

“Investment shall take into account sixty percent (60%) preference to the maximum extent possible to cement products and services provided in Liberia by Liberian nationals residing in Liberia,” the committees reported.

The House says that the investor intends to also administer a grant of US$20,000 in awarding scholarships as social obligation within its environment of operations.

However, the agreement was sent to the Senate for concurrence.

LINA

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About Cholo Brooks 10293 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.