By: Timothy T. Seaklon from Nimba
The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has open the Gbehley-Geh Rural Community Finance Institution in Karnplay, Nimba County in northern Liberia which is believed to be the first of such in the country. On his way to the program, CBL Executive Governor, Dr. J. Mills Jones eventually rocked Nimba County when thousands of economic actors in Ganta, Sanniquellie and Karnplay put aside their usual business activities to give the CBL Boss and entourage a rousing welcome never given a Central Bank Governor in the country.
Governor Jones had gone to the county to extend his financial inclusion campaign and inaugurate for the first time, a rural financial institution, the Gbehley-Geh Rural Community Finance Institution.
Upon getting the news, local economic actors including market women, members of the National Petty Traders Union of Liberia (NAPETUL), officials and members of the Federation of Road Transport Union of Liberia (FRTUL), officials and members of the Liberia Business Association (LIBA) and other well wishers gathered in their thousands to give the CBL Boss a heroic welcome into Nimba County starting at the Ganta Check Point into the city.
In Ganta, the FRTUL welcomed Governor Jones and showered praises on him for his work in trying to ensure that Liberian businesses have access to credit and finance which they claimed to have benefited from.
Calling Governor Jones “the Chief Driver”, the FRTUL, along with the NAPETUL, LIBA, Market Women and business people marched along with him into Ganta amidst traditional dancers and motorcyclists.
In Ganta, Governor Jones told the crowd that the CBL under his administration is committed to ensuring that Liberians especially those doing business have access to finance in a bid to create a proper middle class.
“By ensuring that our people have access to finance through credit, we will be creating wealth that will enable our people send their children to school and improve their livelihood,” Governor Jones said amidst cheers from the crowd.
From Ganta, Governor Jones and entourage moved into the County’s provisional capital of Sanniquellie where he was met upon arrival by traditional leaders, students, youth groups, market women, as well as members of the FRTUL and NAPETUL residing in the city.
At an indoor program held at the Sanniquellie City Hall, the citizens of the county and the Nimba Legislative Caucus lauded Governor Jones and the CBL for making sure Liberian businesses get access to finance, a situation which according to them is to improve the lives and business climate in the area and other parts of the country.
The citizens, the Legislative Caucus and the Superintendent of the County appealed to the CBL Executive Governor to use his good offices and bring a financial institution such as a bank to the city of Sanniquellie. The Nimba citizens said with a banking institution in Sanniquellie the already good business climate will further improve.
Subsequently, the Nimba Youth Network in appreciation of Governor Jones’ work gowned him after being officially welcomed by the traditional leaders of the county.
In response to the warm welcome and pleasant sentiment expressed, Governor Jones told the people of Sanniquellie and the entire county that it is the Government of Liberia’s wish that its citizens be empowered economically and that the economy improves in a way that Liberia can get a middle class.
He promised to liaise with other banking institutions to see if a banking institution can be set up in Sanniquellie where the citizens can carry out normal banking activities.
From Sanniquellie, Governor Jones who was accompanied by his wife on the trip to the county, moved to Karnplay where along with the Nimba Legislative Caucus, members and officials of LIBA, the FRTUL, NAPETUL, officials of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) and other business personalities to open the Gbehley-Geh Rural Community Finance Institution.
Opening the Rural Finance Institution in the presence of prominent citizens and leaders of the county including Senator Prince Y. Johnson, Governor Jones said the people of Gbehley-Geh have taken the first step in rural banking and it will enable them to take loans and carry out banking activities.
Governor Jones promised to have consultation with CBL Board of Governors in order to make the finance institution have access to money transfer services such as Money Gram or Western Union.
He urged the citizens to use the facility in a meaningful way so as to foster economic activities in that part of the country. He also promised to reach villages because as he put it, “Monrovia is not Liberia.”
The Gbehley-Geh Community Finance Institution which is part of the Central Bank of Liberia’s access to finance initiative was made possible with the technical assistance from the Afriland First Bank of Liberia.