Don’t Shut Down Our Banks, Weah Begs Nigerians
Nigerians appear to have so much influence on Liberia’s banking sector and it is showing.
The President of the iron ore-rich country was in Nigeria on Monday and he made an appeal to Nigerian business men who have businesses in Liberia.
One of such appeals was for them not to collapse the nation’s banking system.
There are some Nigerian banks operating in Liberia, but a few of them are considering down-sizing or total shut down.
Mr Weah wants them to think twice.
He appealed to the management of Nigerian banking institutions operating in Liberia, who had been contemplating closing down their branches, to have a rethink, as the economy would soon pull out of its current difficulties.
“Yet, the Liberian banking sector is dominated by Nigerian banks, and I am made to understand that their Head offices in Nigeria may be considering reducing their support or even shutting them down because of the recent downturn in our economy.
“If this is true, l urge them not to do so, as l am optimistic that trade and commerce will increase in the near future,’’ Weah said.
At a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, Weah also stressed the need to address the current volume of trade between Nigeria and Liberia, and declared that “Liberia is now open for business to the Nigerian private sector”.
He urged Nigerian businessmen to explore the many new business opportunities for investment that were bound to increase under the new political dispensation in Liberia.
Weah also wants Nigerian investors to help his country in addressing its major shortcomings in the electricity and power sector; road construction; housing; mining and fisheries.
He said these challenges could be of interest to Nigerian investors, either as individuals or companies, or through joint-ventures or public-private partnerships.
Weah, a former football star and a one-time World Footballer of the Year, was sworn in as Liberia’s new president on January 22.
He won Liberia’s presidential election under the Coalition for Democratic Change when he scored 61.5 per cent of the total 720,023 votes cast, defeating the incumbent vice president of the country, Joseph Boakai of the ruling Unity Party.