‘Big Gain For Liberia’ -NaFAA Gets WB’s Initial US$3.7m of US$400 Funding

True the reassuring projects that Liberia’s economic transformation program will be a solid boost this year, the World Bank Ground has joined other international financing organizations with a giant commitment. The specific commitment, which targets the Liberian fishery sector, holds a whopping US$40m that drive efficient, security, safety and productivity. With US$3.7 of that commitment actualized via an agreement signed by the Bank and the government of Liberia yesterday, the management of the National Fishery and Aquaculture Authority has gone gay on the development, calling it a big gain for Liberia.

The World Bank Group and the Government of Liberia have signed a record pact of US$3.7 million to fund activities leading up to a bigger International Development Association (IDA) against an earmarked US$40 million intended to industrialize the fishery sector so that it generates more revenue and reduce poverty among the local population.

Tilled “Letter of Agreement between the International Development Association (IDA) for a Project Preparatory Advance (PPA)”, NaFAA director general Emma Glassco said the deal is undoubtedly “a big gain for my country!”

The money will facilitate the rehabilitation and expansion of the Mesurado fishing pier into an industrialized fishing port that will contain a processing facility to add value to products, as well as lead to the construction of landing jetties in coastal counties.

At the landing jetties or stations, Glassco added, local fishermen would also have the opportunity to land at comfortable stations where they have access to cold storage facilities and fresh fish markets.

“This is a whole new vision in a fishing sector that has been dormant, overlooked and seen as under-performing,” Glassco added.

The World Bank Group is one of Liberia’s leading development partners helping the government to achieve its fullest economic potential through the local fishing industry that has suffered significant setback for decades as a result of lack of financial, technical, and infrastructural know-how.

As it seems, over the last two years, the sector has won the admiration of Liberians and the international community given its visibility, yet again, on the world stage.

The US$3.7 million agreement was signed Tuesday in Monrovia at the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning with Min. Samuel Tweah affixing his signature for the government while Dr. Khwima Nthara, World Bank-Liberia Country Manager, signed for the multilateral financial institution.

Dr. Nthara expressed confidence that with proper governance and careful planning the local fishery sector could generate significantly greater economic benefit for the country.

“For instance,” he said, “successful efforts to control illegal industrial trawlers within Liberian territorial waters gave confidence to the European Union to sign a five-year partnership agreement on tuna fisheries.”

On his part, Min. Tweah lauded the World Bank for the support it continues to avail to Liberia in the country’s strides to contribute meaningfully to the population as well as install bigger projects of national interest.

NaFAA director general Glassco had called the deal “one of biggest” among several other gains by her institution “in such a short period.”

Liberia is said to be losing huge revenue in the fishery sector because all 71 industrial tuna vessels doing business with Liberia in the country’s waters rather land at fishing port within the sub-region such as in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Sierra Leone and, by that, Liberia does not take in direct export fees.

The West African nation also has been lacking the capacity to process harvested fishes. But, now, the new deal could be a game changer.

“I’m so excited! There were back-and-forth negotiations, long travels up-and-down; we had to present several documents to the World Bank as justification that this sector has the potential for growth. And today we are here; we are where we’re at,” said the fishery boss with ecstasy.

At the same time, Madam Glassco made a retrospect on Liberia’s rich fishery history which, she said, was graded by the World Bank as exporting shrimps to Japan and the United States of America and would generate annual revenue of US$40 million in the 1970s.

She then hoped the country can get back on par to compete, first, with counterparts in the Mano River basin, and then in the ECOWAS region. LINA Reports.

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