By S. Siapha Mulbah (Cub Reporter)
Some local traders at the newly opened Omega Market in Paynesville are appealing to commercial banks that disburse loans for business purposes in the country to further expand the deadlines for restitution.
According to the petty traders, the transition processes from Redlight to Omega had caused serious losses to their businesses and are therefore appealing to the banking institutions to help revisit the loan agreements with an extension of at least six months.
In an interview over the weekend, the chairperson on Trade and Commerce at the Liberia Business Association (LIBA), Dominic Nimely, appealed to the banks and other financial institutions for an additional three months to the deadline as mandated by President George Weah and the Central Bank of Liberia.
Acknowledging that the economy of the state is in a fragile state, he said the relocation from Redlight to Omega is still a struggling process for businesses in terms of adjustments and therefore they have a common transaction ground for now because of some reasons in the commercial setting.
He appreciated the President’s effort for the three months extension request on their behalf but is proposing that there needs to be a further extension to at least six months.
“We must appreciate the President for the first three months but it is not sufficient because relocating you to that new ground; you will have to start all over, you will lose customers because they have to relocate you. Some customers don’t want to go through the stress of going to look for you, so they will go to Waterside or Duala Markets and it will take time for those marketers to regain their customers,” a marketer.
The Liberian businessman want the loan payment which should have expired September this year to go further to at least February of next year for their struggling friends at Omega to settle a bit stronger so that their businesses cannot collapse after the payment of the loans or enter an event of collateral.
The businessman revealed that there are other confrontations in the business industry that have adverse effect on the country but will not be seen as a national priority by others out of the business circle because it is not a matter of politics.
Nimely added that politicians will protest in times of crisis concerning them to call public attention and at times matters will be resolved, but for them in the business sector, they will not waste any second doing such because they have financial obligations with banks.
“We respect every second that passes because we owe loans to pay to financial institutions and banks; so we are calling on banks to relieve those affected by that relocation,” Nimely appealed.
He accused the Legislature for their sole interest in empowering foreign businesses leaving out their own Liberian businesses which is suppressing the locals from reaching a progressive business goal and leaving the country into a consistent capital flight.
The LIBA executive maintained that there are laws on the book to guide Liberian traders and businesses against the foreign businesses which will enable the Liberians to control their own business community but lawmakers have rejected to enact the laws and have given the business community to foreigners.
“One big thing that we want in Liberia is that Liberians should be the one entitled to hundred percent retailer right; you can’t be a foreigner in my country and because you are an investor, you want to do wholesale, retail and supply; some things have to be left for the indigenous and this is in black and white but the implementation part of it is the problem,” Nimely stressed.
He explained that when Liberians are given the hundred percent retailers’ right, it will help them wake up in trade because of the transfer of retailers from the foreigners’ stores to the indigenous creating a free flow of the little capital circulating in the economy.
He challenged the Legislature, clothed with the responsibility of law-making and oversight to make laws, to mandate foreign traders to collaborate with the local traders so that monies made from Liberia cannot be sent to other countries as indemnification and continue to create fluctuation in the country’s exchange rate.
Few weeks ago President Weah authorized that loan repayments be suspended to Omega marketers realizing that the relocation of the marketers from Redlight to Omega which in his thought was intended to create sanity in the commercial district of Paynesville, disrupted normal flow of business yields for the marketers that in turn has impeded their commitment to settling loan obligations to lending institutions.
According to the release issued via the Emansion website on September 28, 2021, the Liberian leader requested the Central Bank of Liberia as the government arm of enforcement for its monetary policies to prevail on commercial banks and lending organizations to give a timeframe of reprieve for obligated marketers to recuperate from impact of the relocation exercise.
In response to the President’s request, the Central Bank of Liberia granted a three-month moratorium on loan repayment for all marketers affected by the relocation exercise from the Red Light Market.
The Central Bank of Liberia however mandated commercial banks and other licensed financial institutions to reschedule their loan collection program for the designated months beginning October 1, 2021 and ending December 31, 2021.
A lady only identified as Ma Taywa who sells dry goods in the market said their relocation took place in rainy season and made their goods bought in July for the 26 season to damage because of the downpour of rain
“They brought us to this new market in the rainy season, our market we bought for 26 that was in huge quantity spoilt because rain used to fall on us and the building was small; so all those goods damaged and our customers are still not coming to us like when we were in Red Light” Ma Taywa narrated.
“We hearing them saying three months but if they do not help us to push it up small, plenty of us will break down and we will not have the means to do this small, small things we doing to eat and live,” she grumbled.
Omega Marketers Crave
Extension For Loan Payments
By S. Siapha Mulbah (Cub Reporter)