By Own Correspondent ,from Monrovia ,Liberia for Shout-africa.com – The Governments of Liberia and Japan have signed a debt cancellation agreement. The agreement formalizes the terms the two countries agreed upon during last year September Paris Club meeting.
According to a reliable source in the Liberian capital ,Monrovia ,the debt cancellation is in the tune of 16 billion yen or US$194.1 million. The signing ceremony took place Tuesday, March 9, 2011, in the conference room of the Ministry of Finance.
Japan’s Ambassador to Liberia Keicihi Katakami in his delivery during the signing ceremony he expressed his happiness about the debt cancellation which has been serving as a hamstring to the Liberian economy and prevented the government from combating poverty. He hoped that the debt cancellation by the Japanese Government as granted will provide more opportunities for the Liberian government to fast track its development priorities and was impressed by the level of development taking place in Liberia in recent times. He further expressed satisfaction with steps the government is taking in its debt management program. Citing the putting into place of prudent debt management policies, the strengthening of the Debt Management Unit and establishment of the Debt Management Committee.
The Japanese Envoy was confident with the ability of Finance Minister Augustine Ngafuan and his team of officials in guiding the country to a sustainable and sound future through the efficient management of debt.
During his speech, Liberia’s Finance Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan said the signing of the agreement marks a new beginning in the partnership for development between both Liberia and Japan. Minister Ngafuan said Liberia now has the opportunity to explore new avenues of cooperation unhindered by the shadow of one party’s indebtedness to the other. Minister Ngafuan also explained that the debt that has been cancelled by Japan arose from loans taken in 1976 and 1978 form the Japan bank or International Cooperation (JBIC) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The Finance Minister revealed the proceeds were used to support the telecommunications industry specifically to enable the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation extend its services across the country.
A media release quotes Minister Ngafuan as saying that Japan has also assisted Liberia in the areas of emergency and humanitarian aid. The Finance Minister named the Japanese Friendship Maternity Hospital constructed at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center as the most outstanding example of Japan’s assistance to Liberia and as well as Japan’s financial contributions to the Disarmament Commission for the demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers, support to the National Elections Commission, food aid through the World Food Program and donation of a consignment of rice that helped to establish Liberia Rice Stabilization Fund among others.