Financial Expert Wants World Bank’s Role Defined -Writes National Legislature to take up task

MONROVIA : Concerned about the what he called the undefined role of the World Bank in the Socio-economic development of the country, a renowned Liberia financial expert, Mr. J. Yanqui Zaza has written to the members of the national legislature to visit the idea of asking the global financial institute to choose between being what he called “Liberia’s premier economic adviser and at the same time Liberia’s biggest creditor”

In his letter addressed both to the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate, Mr. Zaza said his concern comes in the wake of his realization that the five subsidiaries of the World Bank are undermining Liberia’s development and provided reasons while discussing each of the entities to support his claim.

Beginning the discussion, he said one of the subsidiaries, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has been generating revenue from Liberia to provide advisory services in negotiating concessionary agreements as well as lending money to Liberia. He wondered whether with such roles, did the IBRD play any role when Liberia awarded 66 fraudulent concessionary agreements of the 68 since big business owned 82% of the assets of IBRB. Making use of records of its recent financial statement, he said IBRD made $2.16m, $2.26m and $2.4m 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively in revenue from loans extended to Liberia.

Mr. Zaza also similar thing can be said of the International Finance Corporation which according to him generates revenue from lending money to profit-making entities and gold mining but got a swipe from Jessica Evans, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch was disappointed when gold activities of New Liberty Gold affected residents in Kinjor, Liberia. He also said the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) paid IFC as principal adviser “for helping to reform LEC, according to IFC representative to Liberia, Jumoke Jagun-Dosunmu. “Also, did IFC play a role in selecting the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), i.e, an affiliate of Millennium Challenge Corporation, an American institute to manage LEC from 2015 through January 20, 2021? Sadly, MCA has failed to publish a financial report”, Mr. Zaza noted.

Touching on the International Development Association, he said it generates revenue from lending money to poor countries, the IBRD and IFC and member countries

“In 2021, IDA had $36 billion for lending and grants: It gave $23.9 billion as loans to poor countries and gave $12.1 billion as grants. Note, grants are given “…once all conditions are met, generally at the time of disbursement.”  IDA charges fees for grants. “…Commitment charges earned on loans and grants (if any) are reported as non-interest revenue in the Statement of Income.” Moreover, IDA gives a significant portion of the grants to IGNOS (i.e., IDA does not remit grants directly into the bank accounts of governments). Worse, INGOs do not provide financial reports. For instance, IGNOS did not give a report for donors’ USD $5 B given to Liberia, according to Liberian Citizens’ Guide 2012/13 through 2018/19”, he said.

Mr. Zaza who is a New York State Certified Public Accountant(CPA) while discussing the fourth subsidiaries of the world Bank, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency(MIGA) helps investors mitigate the risks of restrictions on currency conversion and transfer, breach of contract by governments, expropriation, war, and civil disturbance, as well as offering credit enhancement on sovereign obligations and expressed concern whether MIGA has ever questioned ArcelorMittal Steel’s underpayment of the $3M to Bassa, Nimba and Bong?

For International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), Mr. Zaza said it provides, through its specialized rules of procedure, world-class facilities, and expert legal and administrative support, unparalleled dispute resolution services to States and investors.What is the view of ICSID concerning the ownership of the railway and port of Buchanan? Should Liberia give the railway and port of Buchanan to ArcelorMittal Steel?” he queried.

“The Lawmakers of Liberia should organize a committee to review the activities of the five subsidiaries of the World Bank, specifically to visit the idea of increasing Liberia’s revenue from operating gold mines and diamond creeks. Liberia’s revenue has been around USD $500 million since fiscal year 2016/17”, he concluded the letter.

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