HARBEL, Firestone – Liberty Party Standard Bearer Charles Walker Brumskine has vowed to reopen the defunct Agricultural Cooperative Development Bank if elected the next president of Liberia.
The Liberty Party flag bearer said his first stand in improving the lives of the ordinary Liberians is to invest more in the agricultural sector of the country.
Brumskine said it is saddened that after nearly 12 years of leadership, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her vice President Joseph Boakai have failed to reopen the agriculture bank that served as a relief for farmers in the country before the civil war.
He said the farmers who constitute a larger portion of the population of Liberia will have the chance to take loans from the bank and improve their farms across the country at a minimum interest.
“We will fully capitalize the Agriculture Cooperative Development Bank that will help farmers buy their tools, fertilizers, and other materials needed to improve their farms,” he added.
Although the bank provided significant assistance to farmers and rural dwellers, controls at the former institution were severely lacking and the bank operated at significant losses before it was shuttered. Additionally, a strategy document by the Ministry of Agriculture said the bank did not adequately serve smallholder farmers.
Last year, the current executive governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Milton Weeks, discussed plans to create a better version of the failed bank; however, there are no mentions of an agriculture bank in the CBL’s 2017 policy statement or in its 2017-2019 strategic plan.
During his speech at a program held in Harbel, Brumskine said under his administration the 73 electoral districts in the country would each have agricultural extension agents who would guide and help local farmers improve their farms.
Despite his promise to create a government-run bank, Brumskine also said his administration would privatize most of the autonomous agencies in the country, as the public sector is not good at running businesses.
The Liberty Party standard bearer also spoke on the issue of education, saying that if he is elected, he intends to extend the daily school hours of grade students in Liberia. He said it is frustrating to see students leaving their various campuses as early as 11 a.m. He said when students have a longer stay on campus, they will be better prepared in competing with their peers outside Liberia.
He said because of the low incentive of teachers in the interior, they are not motivated to spend longer hours with their students. He said teachers in the interior often dismiss their students early to have the chance to go on their farms before the sun rises.
Brumskine said Liberians must elect on October 10, 2017, leaders who have the will and desire to develop Liberia. He cautioned his audience not to make mistakes of the past.
Featured photo by Gbatemah Senah