A loan agreement in the amount of US$35 million for the Mano River Union (MRU) Road Development and Transport Program (MRU/RDTFP) has been sent to the Senate for ratification. According to a letter from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf dated July 14, the loan agreement signed between the government and the African Development Fund, is meant to provide additional funds for the foreign currency and part of the local currency costs of the program. President Sirleaf said the program is a multinational project involving three countries, La Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Liberia, adding that, “The executing agencies under the loan agreement are the Ministry of Public Works and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in consultation with the MRU General Secretariat.”Regarding the breakdown of the loan, President Sirleaf said the maximum commitment charge rate payable by the government on the undisbursed portion of the loan “shall begin to accrue 120 days after the date of the signature of this agreement and shall be one half of one percent (0.5 percent) per annum, while the service charge payable on the principal amount of the loan disbursed and outstanding amount shall be three quarters of one per cent (0.75) per annum; while payment dates are April 15 or October 15 in each year.”The terms of the agreement, according to the letter before Senate plenary, is a period of 30 years after a 10 year grace period commencing from the date of the agreement, at the rate of two percent of the principal per annum from the 11th to the 20th year inclusive and at the rate of four percent of the principal per annum thereafter. In a related development, the Senate yesterday voted unanimously to concur with the House of Representatives in ratifying a loan agreement between Liberia and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), which will be used for upgrading the Gbarnga-Salayea Road. In a separate letter also received by the Senate, President Sirleaf submitted for ratification an instrument called, “The Consolidated Lease and Management Agreement for the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) Crude Storage Facility” between the LPRC and Conex Petroleum Group Incorporated, entered into on the February 27, 2014. According to President Sirleaf, the LPRC has leased her rights within the parameters of the National Port Authority (NPA), where it has a crude storage terminal, but that the “facility has not been operational and has been dormant due to corrosion, long years of civil conflicts and other factors for about three decades.”Under the agreement, LPRC leased to Conex Petroleum Group the LPRC Crude Storage Terminal (CST) on a “as is where is” basis; and the agreement is for a 20 year period certain with an option for extension for additional 20 years under terms and conditions to be agreed upon. “Conex Petroleum is to rehabilitate, refurbish, upgrade and reconstruct the Crude Storage Facility.” “In view of government’s commitment to promote private sector participation for maximum productivity and revenue generation, I request your timely ratification…” the President wrote.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Australia’s selectors endured a barrage of criticism for a trio of surprising picks in the Ashes squad but the hosts’ dominant 10-wicket win over England in the series-opener at the Gabba may have left them feeling more than a little vindicated.The selection of opener Cameron Bancroft, wicketkeeper Tim Paine and number six Shaun Marsh all looked to have backfired early in the series-opener but all three finished strongly in Brisbane to help Australia to victory and boost their confidence ahead of the second Test in Adelaide starting on Saturday.Having replaced hometown favourite Matt Renshaw, Western Australian Bancroft had a nervous start to his Test debut at the Gabba and was out for five after fishing at a Stuart Broad delivery in the first innings.The 25-year-old batted superbly in his second chance, however, putting on a record unbeaten opening partnership in a successful fourth-innings victory chase with David Warner, as they mowed down the 170-run target.Bancroft’s 82 was also the highest score by an Australian debutant in a fourth innings, replacing Norm O’Neil’s 71 from 1958.He later endeared himself to the Australian media with his humorous account of being “headbutted” in a “weird” greeting by England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow at a Perth nightspot after the tourists’ arrival Down Under.The decision to bring in Paine for Matthew Wade left plenty bewildered, given he was not even keeping for state side Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield when he was recalled for his first Test in seven years.Paine’s first day at the Gabba was largely forgettable as he grassed a nick behind from England number three James Vince off the bowling of spinner Nathan Lyon.advertisementHe recovered well, however, with smart work to stump all-rounder Moeen Ali on day four, a wicket that triggered a middle order collapse and hastened England’s dismissal for 195.Marsh’s selection saw spin bowling all-rounder Glenn Maxwell discarded and the Western Australian batsman had a nightmare start to his eighth recall in Tests.He clattered into pace spearhead Mitchell Starc in a fielding mishap, a clash that gave the Gabba crowd a scare when the bowler came off for treatment with a hole in his trousers and a cut on his knee.At the time, Maxwell was well on the way to a maiden double-century for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield.The 34-year-old Marsh later dropped a very easy catch in the deep and was under huge scrutiny when he joined captain Steve Smith in the middle with their team teetering at 76 for four in their first innings.Marsh survived a number of nervy play-and-misses but remained to score 51, his eighth half-century, in a crucial 99-run stand with Smith that dug Australia out of trouble.