JULY 26TH, 2015 INDEPENDENCE DAY THEME: Celebrating Our Community as a Strong Foundation For…

first_imgAs Liberia celebrates its 168th independence anniversary by joining the world in transitioning from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals, the role of our Community should be recognized as catalysts for accelerated development. Considering the Nineteenth Century founding of the Republic of Liberia, and the way Liberian communities at home and abroad have strived to overcome Liberia’s adversities and maintain the nation-state since then, there are at least three conceptions of what is meant by Our Community. The first takes inspiration from the historian of international repute, Benedict Anderson, who, in his book “Imagined Communities,” defined the nation as “an imagined political community – and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign” By this conception, the nation is imagined “because members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.” The nation is imagined as limited “because even the largest of them, encompassing perhaps a billion living human beings, has finite, if elastic, boundaries, beyond which lie other nations. No nation imagines itself coterminous with mankind. The nation is imagined as sovereign “because the concept was born in an age in which Enlightenment and Revolution were destroying the legitimacy of the divinely ordained, hierarchically dynastic realm.” Finally, the nation is imagined as a community “because regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship.” Our second conception derives from historical geography: the conceivable units into which the nation can be devolved to the grassroots level over time and in space to maintain what the framers of our Constitution refer to as the “Positive Liberian Culture.” For example, under our Republican system of governance, below the state, are Counties, Districts, Townships, and Clans.Finally, our third conception derives from the emigration of Liberians to different parts of the globe, partly as a consequence of the Liberian civil war, and partly for the search of greener pastures, where they have settled often in clusters, yet identifiable by their passion for the welfare and survival of the nation-state they have left behind.At these various levels of analyses, whether rebuilding Liberia from the fracture caused by the prolonged civil war of 1989 to 2003, or responding collectively to combating the Ebola Virus disease, Liberian communities have demonstrated uncommon resiliency, under strong central government leadership, in overcoming the challenges of tribalism, provincialism and political disharmony that have for long hampered strong nation building.Our communities have withstood the test of time by developing strategies in solving conflicts and caring for Liberians in difficult circumstances, including vulnerable women, children, the elderly, refugees and Internally Displaced People. For example, communities developed self-help strategies following major disasters including the Liberian civil war and the Ebola Crisis. It was therefore no mistake when the Government of Liberia, under the able stewardship of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, cited the contribution of communities as one of the success stories in fighting the dreaded Ebola virus. For example, Incident Management Team worked with community leaders around the country to communicate anti-Ebola messages that ultimately convinced Liberians about the reality of Ebola and the need to use preventive measures. One such example, is the Town Chief of Jenewonde, Madam Jebbeh Sannoh, in Grand Cape Mount County, who demonstrated exemplary and emulative leadership in mobilizing community members in the fight against the Ebola virus. This proves that those community level initiatives, when buttressed by Government programs, can reinforce national disaster management. Government must therefore continue cultivating community leadership to provide ideas and fresh impetus to its Post-Ebola Development Strategy. This can be done by insulating communities from poverty, dependency and external shocks. Traditionally, rural Liberian communities are known for mobilizing local populations through Susu and Ku groups as strategies for economic development and support for seasonal farming activities respectively. They therefore provide valuable lessons at the grassroots level, and serve as the foundation for Liberia to undergo the necessary processes of social reconciliation, rehabilitation, national reunification and reconstruction. Such insulation at the community level has been admirably taken place under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, since 2006, through key infrastructure, education and health projects. For example, the Sirleaf administration has reconstructed roads in Monrovia and its environs, as has begun the construction of highways from Red Light to Ganta to the border with Guinea border. The Sirleaf administration has also repaired the Phebe via Sanoyea to Totota road (79 km), and the Saclepea-Bahn-Loguatuo road (79km). The Government has also inaugurated the Barclayville Bridge in Grand Kru County. On the education front, it has dedicated nine sub-projects in Margibi County including the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Public School in Zuawein Community. To expand access to higher education, it has opened Community Colleges in Lofa, Nimba, Bassa, Grand Gedeh and Bong Counties. The Zwedru and Phebe hospitals, 39 clinics, and four community health facilities have been rehabilitated. Proceeding to the next level, the Liberian communities in the Diaspora have contributed immensely through remittances, and often repatriation, to the reconstruction of Liberia from the ravishes of civil strife and the current Ebola crisis. Remittances to friends and family, and resource mobilization to aid government’s rebuilding efforts have been the hallmarks of Liberian communities around world. At the national level, the Liberian nation has thrived since its founding in 1822 with every community vowing to be part of this glorious land of liberty that shall long be theirs. The Government of Liberia must therefore as a matter of priority and urgency continue to build on the progress of our Community by mobilizing Liberian communities as vehicles of economic development and empowerment. Communities at the local, national and Diaspora levels have the capacities to bring all stakeholders together to work for the transmission of essential skills and national values important for sustaining development. Community rebuilding strategies must also be central to current decentralization activities and the setting and articulation of sustainable development goals. Partnership with communities to rebuild needed health, infrastructure, education, agriculture and security sectors will also be crucial in accelerating Public-Private-Partnership to attract needed humanitarian and development funding and resources from home and abroad to complement gaps in Government’s development financing.The Government and Community leaders should work together to motivate Liberians to always develop the ways and means be self-reliant in complementing national revenue sources for the pursuit of sustainable development objectives and goals.Ultimately, Government’s role in providing an enabling environment will be critical in engendering Our Community at the local, national and Diaspora levels, comprising of enterprising men, women and youth, galvanized in serving as transformative agents to improving the nation’s welfare through self-reliance and good governance to achieve accelerated national development.HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

GBTI records $1.52B after-tax profit

first_imgThe Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) has recorded a dip in its after-tax profits which, by the end of the year 2017, was $1.520 billion compared to the $2.043 billion in 2016.This is according to the bank’s financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2017, which was published in Guyana Times on Friday; the profit before taxation was $1.881 billion against $2.518 billion. The financial records reflect a 25.5 per cent drop in the taxed profits. It was recorded that the Interest Income last year went down to $5.044 billion against $5.994 billion the previous year; while Interest Expense was $789 million compared to $912 million in 2016. Meanwhile, the Net Interest Income also saw a decline in 2017 with $4.254 billion against $5.082 billion recorded in the previous year.On the other hand, GBTI registered a significant increase in Other Income last year, with $1.626 billion against $1.133 billion in 2016.Furthermore, it was outlined that Operating Expenses also went up to $3.412 billion in 2017 compared to $2.798 billion in the 2016 financial year. Meanwhile, provisioning for bad loans last year was pegged at $587 million against $899 million in 2016.Additionally, the bank’s earnings per share last year declined to 38.02 per cent against 51.09 per cent in 2016. The financial statements further outlined that loans and advances went down to $44.7 billion last year compared to $45.5 billion in 2016.Furthermore, the total deposits in 2017 were recorded at $81.6 billion, compared to $82.8 billion the previous year. Moreover, GBTI paid a total of $600 million in Dividends last year, which reflects a drop from the $680 million paid the previous year.The bank’s financial records also outlined that loss to an unnamed associate company went up to a whopping $620 million in 2017 from a mere $143 million recorded in 2016.In its Interim Financial Report for the period January to June 2017, it was noted that GBTI’s financial performance was, no doubt, due in part to the fraud perpetrated on the bank earlier in the year by gold dealer Siddiqui Rasul who defrauded the bank of some $941 million.GBTI’s Chairman Robin Stoby in May 2017, had told GBTI shareholders that the bank would recover the $941 million lost in a fraudulent transaction allegedly conducted by Rasul.Stoby had said that while, in the short-term, the bank would have to make provisions for the loss, affecting earnings for the year, the Board’s intention was to make an insurance claim for the money, in addition to conducting civil proceedings in an attempt to recover as much of the funds as possible.Rasul, owner of SSS Minerals Trading, was on April 3, 2017, charged with six counts of fraud, wherein it was alleged that between March 21 and March 22, 2017, at Bartica, with intent to defraud, he obtained from GBTI $96 million, $290 million, $89 million, $45 million, $298 million and $138 million by falsely pretending that he had cash in a Citizens Bank account to honour cheques that he had written. Rasul has denied the charges, and has been placed on a total of $3 million bail.last_img read more