By: Rancy S. Teewia
The Banking Institute of Liberia (BIL) has awarded 132 certificates to financial experts from various Banking institutions in Liberia. The recipients of the certificate participated in the Institute’s 2019 training cycle for which first closing convocation was held on Friday October 11, 2019 at the auditorium of the Central Bank of Liberia.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Executive Director of BIL, Prof. Richard S. Panton, said BIL was establish in march 2014 by the Liberia Bankers Association (LBA) and the Central Bank of Liberia. Panton said the Institute is aimed at to building and enhancing the capacity of Senior and executive level staff in the banking and financial Sector.
It also aims at organizing professional and academic certification courses in banking, finance and related fields; and it is also to collaborate with universities and other financial institutions of higher learning in Liberia and aboard to achieve its mandate, among others.
The BIL Boss said human capacity development is essential for national growth in any society because when there is highly skilled and trained manpower, the challenges facing the society can easily be overcome.
Trained and highly skilled staffers, he said, have the capability to unravel complex problems in the environment, become more innovative in finding solution to organizational problem and possess the capabilities to translate corporate policies into achievable actions as well as deliver services with effectiveness and efficiency to the satisfaction of clients.
Prof. Panton also called on the Central Bank of Liberia to collaborate more with commercial banks to empower the banking institutes so that the institute will play its role of providing training and capacity, research and consultation services in the banking and financial sector to the fullest.
Meanwhile, a representative of Keynote speaker Governor Nathaniel R. Patray, Mr. Armazo B. Bawn has urged the participants to have vision and be discipline.
Bawn, the Director of Financial Markets at the CBL and facilitator of BIL who represented the CBL’s Executive Governor and BIL Board of Director, maintained that discipline constitutes the basic tools require to solve life’s problem.
Mr. Bawn pointed out that nothing worthwhile, significant or possible without discipline, adding, “Vision is the key to understanding leadership; without vision you are just playing games with your life.” He said continual success cannot be achieved without discipline. “In this word we either discipline ourselves or we are disciplined by others since discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problem…”
At the same time, the CBL Marketing Director expounded on the current situation that Liberia is facing, stressing that Liberia is not the only country for the first time to face this kind of economic predicament.
He added that in 1932, 13 million Americans were out of work and couldn’t find job; the banking was system in shamble; President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt told his countrymen when he spoke on May 22, 1932 that “The country needs you and unless I mistake its temper.”
Mr. Bawn said this difficulties of everyday life should serve as an opportunity for Liberia to do something new. Whatever the economic conditions maybe, we’re not the first to experience such economic hardship, Bawn indicated, pointing out that the country demands bold, persistent experimentation.
According to him, it is common sense to take a method and try it, and if it fails, admit its failure and try another, and another until the problem is surmounted
The CBL official further stressed that in the Banking and Financial Sector, there is an underutilization of the digital banking space, as only four out of the nine banks are connected to the national switch on a voluntary basis, with only three banks doing digital banking. Those banks using digital banking use ATM and POS reflecting the high level of manual clearing of cheques, thereby constraining the evolution of the financial ecosystem.
Mr. Bawn asserted that the banking hours are limited to five hours (09:00-14:00), compared to seven hours (09:00-16:00) as it is in other countries in the region, which translates to a loss of three productive banking business hours each day.
He said four out of the fifteen counties in Liberia are unbanked, while opportunities for increased financial inclusion exist especially through financial technology companies (FinTechs), including mobile money operations.
“The operational effectiveness of the Credit Reference Bureau is adversely affected by the absence of unique bank identifier, while the collateral registry lacks effective registration of Title Deeds, which could avoid the risk of using single deeds for multiple collaterals.
In Macroeconomic Developments, real GDP growth for the first half of 2019 was estimated at 0.4 percent, lower than the growth of 1.2 percent recorded in the corresponding period of 2018, largely due to slow growth in the primary sector and decline in the tertiary sector. “The slow growth in the primary sector was mainly due to deterioration in the mining and panning sector, arising from low output in industrial gold production, and slow recuperation in the agriculture and fisheries sub-sector.
At the end of the period, inflation increased by 5.3 percentage, points to 29.9 percent at end of June 2019, from 24.6 percent at end of June 2018. Mr. Bawn then noted that the government’s fiscal operations worsened in the first half of 2019 when total revenue and grants decreased to 15.1 percent of GDP, from 17.7 percent of GDP recorded in the first half of 2018”.