By Morrison O.G. Sayon
A consortium of 12 Civil Society organizations in the country says it supports the appearance of the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Dr. J. Mills Jones at the National Legislature on Wednesday.
The group’s spokesman, Arthur Jikpamu has hailed the CBL’s support to the National Budget as was explained by the Executive Governor during the hearing at the House of Representatives.
According to Mr. Jikpamu, the CBL boss outlined the strategic functions of the Central Bank specifically the Act of 1999, Section 3 and 2 which mandates the CBL to come out with program that will stimulate economic growth through its monetary policy including the distribution of loan to financial and banking institutions on a discretionary basis.
Jikpamu said the Act also mandated the CBL to come out with fixed policy that will enable marketing system, the Agricultural sectors including institutions geared toward stimulating economic growth. He said the consortium of 12 civil society organizations sees this as a cogent presentation by Dr. Jones as a clear manifestation of transparency, accountability and efficiency which reflects the practice of good governance in the interest of the Liberian people.
On Wednesday, at day three budget hearing taking place at the Capitol Building, Central Bank of Liberia, Governor Dr. Joseph Mills Jones clarified to members of the Legislature on the Ways, Means and Finance Committee that the US$22.5m given out to the private sector is meant to make an intervention to the economy for growth and development.
During his presentation yesterday to explain the revenue components of the 2013/2014 draft budget, Dr. Jones said the CBL has not received money from the budget but instead it has contributed US$20m to government during the period under review for developmental purposes.
CBL Jones guided by his financial lieutenants told the committee that the CBL does not pay interest rate on government’s deposit but provides balances to the Ministry of Finance on a daily basis.
Commenting on the breakdown of the amount, Governor Jones disclosed that US$7.5m has been disbursed to agriculture, US$10m to mortgage and US$10m was given out as loan. This in total is US$22.5 made available to the private sector which is considered as the ‘engine of growth”.
When he was asked by the committee to give his source of authority vested in him to disburse thousands of dollars to non financial institutions, Dr. Jones referred the committee members to part 2, count 3, count 4, number 4 and 3 of the CBL Act which authorized him to do so.
With questions asked by the committee members, the CBL boss in the Richard R. Tolbert Joint Chambers, Mills Jones indicated that the bank’s intervention in the economy is in compliance with the law.
He said the CBL in its wisdom is doing just what the law says and that anyone who has doubt should be informed that the bank be audited every year by an international firm and such report goes to the President as it is stated by law.
The committee has been concerned about the measures or security put in place to ensure the payment of loans sent out by the CBL because they as lawmakers have that oversight over government agencies to make sure that the Liberian people’s money is used properly.