Monrovia, Liberia - The Micro Small and Medium Enterprise and Rural Finance Post Ebola Reconstruction Project have been extended from 3 to 5 years, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning says.
The two years extension grant agreement is intended to provide finance to MSMEs on a sustainable term, enhance capacities of local private sector financial institutions to lend profitably. Out of the US$ 4.8 million, 4.0 million was used for direct credit to MSMEs while US$ 800k was for operations and innovations capacity building for both the participating financial institutions and the MSMEs benefiting the fund.
It can be recalled in early 2017, the Government of Liberia received a grant of US$4.8 million from the World Bank for the MSMEs Post-Ebola Reconstruction Project.
The funds are channeled through seven (7) financial institutions which include three (3) commercial banks and four (4) microfinance or non-banking institutions. These institutions are Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, GN Bank, Afriland First Bank, Diaconia MDI, BRAC, Foundation for Women’s, and Business Link all of which are required to use their internal lending frameworks and systems for the implementation of the program.
Speaking at the extension signing ceremony held at the Monrovia City Hall on Tuesday, March 27, 2019, Deputy Minister for Economic Management, at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Hon. Augustus J. Flomo said, Micro Small Medium Enterprises remains the ‘main’ entry point to the labor market for youth, women and disadvantaged groups. especially those without formal education.
According to him, the Micro Small Medium Enterprises can directly help to lower poverty and integrate women and other marginalized groups into society. Hon. Flomo believes it is the MSMEs sector that has great potential to grow the economy by serving as the engine for growth.
‘’ The SMEs will also provide the opportunity for other people to have job and be able to expand the economic activities. So the government is committed toward this initiative and we are grateful to the World Bank for providing us the amount which got us started.’’ Minister Flomo stressed.
He disclosed that the administration of President Weah is committed to the development objectives of the project.
Hon. Flomo pointed out that government has worked with the participating banks and microfinance institutions to ensure that MSMEs are provided the loan on sustainable terms, while at the same time ensuring that capacities of MSMEs are enhanced to properly manage the fund.
He assured partners that government will continue to work with partners in providing businesses access to capital, as well as building the capacities of these businesses to properly manage their capital.
For his part, the Minister of Commerce’s and Industry, Hon. Wilson Tarpeh, lauded the World Bank and other development partners for their supports and staying with the country during difficult times.
The Commerce Minister added that government is trying to develop a service center to help people who are involved in business to solve problem.
The extension signing ceremony was attended by the World Bank, Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, GN Bank, Afriland First Bank, Diaconia MDI, BRAC, Foundation for Women’s and Business Link, including officials from the Banks and participating institutions and other Senior Management Team members from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.