Friday, August 18, 2017 07:52

LBS May Go Off The Air...As Senator Want Moratorium On CBL Loan Scheme

Story by Alva M. Wolokolie
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Lack of adequate budgetary support may lead the nation's number one radio station, Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) to immediately go off the air for time indefinite.
LBS Director General, Mr. Ambrose Nmah at the expenditure component of the 2013/2014 budget hearing yesterday held in the William R. Tolbert joint chambers told the committee on Ways, Means and Finance that if nothing is done to improve the budget under the LBS project, fuel supply to the substation will be cut off and the stations will shut down.
Under the rural broadcasting project, Mr. Nmah said a new division was established by the Executive and staff were also appointed and recruited; compensations of those staff are budgeted over a period of one year (contractual) under the project.
He said fuel to keep the outstations functional is imbedded in the budget of the project while the operation is recurrent. As long as the main station is on, he added the outstations are expected to rebroadcast major programs.
Initially, the LBS boss indicated that it was a plan of the LBS management to elevate the Voinjama, Lofa County substation to a full broadcast station which would have enabled the locals to air their own community programmes or content. But unfortunately, he said budgetary allocations for the project were not approved in the fiscal budget.
Mr. Nmah narrated that over the fiscal period 2012/2013, payment of project budget by the Ministry of Finance was strictly contingent upon the availability of funds. Due to the short fall in the national budget, most of those projects were not funded as per the allocations in said national budget. As a result of this, Nmah said it seriously led to the shutdown of the substations several times in the year.
Director Nmah however used the occasion to appeal to both the Executive and Legislature that the state broadcaster remains a priority to government. “We therefore request full budgetary support to enhance productivity as we effectively communicate the government's agenda for transformation,” Mr. Nmah said. 
In a related development, despite the Senate's invitation to several financial experts to detail the responsibility of the Central Bank of Liberia at a public hearing held on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, concerns regarding institutions currently benefitting from the (CBL) loan scheme exercise remain unaddressed by these experts. Senator G. Alphonso Gaye through a communication has written to the Senate plenary to place a moratorium on the disbursement of the loan.
Senator Gaye in his communication requested that the august body places a moratorium on the Central Bank's Loan Scheme to non-financial banking institutions, printing of bank notes and the minting of coins among others pending the conclusion of an investigation and hearing currently being conducted by the Senate's Committee on Banking and Currency.
According to the Grand Gedeh Senator, it was prudent for the Liberian people to know where this money was taken from to give as loan and the names of institutions benefitting from the current exercise.
He expressed the need for plenary to further mandate the Committee on Banking and Currency to request from the CBL a report detailing the amount of the loan, the recipients and their addresses, interest rate and payback period.
Senator Gaye requested that the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency also request the CBL to make a report to the Senate on bank notes and coins printed or minted and detailing the dates and the total amount that was printed or minted among others.
However, following the reading of the communication, Senator John Ballout recommended that the communication be received and sent to the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency for onward advice to plenary next week.
Uploaded: July 12, 2013