Tag: 上海楼凤BO

Liberian-owned Businesses Shocked by Failed Loan Scheme

first_imgMahmud Johnson, CEO, J-Palm; Mrs. Eyvonne Bright-Harding, CEO of Sharks Entertainment Incorporated; Angie M. Howard, CEO, Falama Inc; Korkpor Daynuah, CEO, Panzsir CosmeticsMahmud Johnson, the entrepreneur who turned palm kernel oil into skin, hair and cooking products that are sold around the world, applied for the Private Sector Development Initiatives (PSDI) loan in 2014.But officials at the Ministry of Finance and Development of Planning, which managed the secret loan fund, told him that all the loans had been given out, and encouraged him to wait until people start repaying the loans.Johnson, founder and chief executive officer of J-Palm Manufacturing Company, said he was disappointed and shocked to learn that the majority of the business owners who received loans have not repaid a penny, and that some of them created ghost businesses that auditors could not locate.Mr. Johnson said the process was not transparent or open to all Liberian businesses, thereby giving the opportunity to non-beneficiaries and leaving out the people who should have been the direct beneficiaries.Mr. Johnson was one of several small and medium sized business owners who expressed outraged about the failed loan scheme.“I don’t believe that such a huge amount of money can be allocated for Liberian businesses and the impact is not being felt. This money would have created jobs and empowered and changed the face of some communities that these businesses would have been established in,” Mr. Johnson said.Mr. Johnson, who started the business in 2013 currently employs 34 individuals, and plans to have his products across Liberia. He has participated in the most talked about MSME conference intended to showcase Liberian made products. The conference has brought hundreds of businesses together, with a recommendation to take it to other counties.Meanwhile, according to the auditors, between 2014 and 2016, the project disbursed US$2,274,400 to forty-six (46) borrowers. The report revealed that Dr. James F. Kollie, former Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs (MFDP), signed all the loan approvals while serving in the position.Out of the 46 borrowers, only Garson Incorporated, located on 11th Street, Sinkor, believed to be owned by Dr. James Kollie, paid its obligation of US$150,000 plus US$10,500 interest, amounting to a total repayment of US$160,500. Garson Incorporated’s account statement reveals that the institution has only an US$11.00 obligation outstanding.News of the failed loan scheme broke last week when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered Dr. Kollie to cut short his overseas trip and come back home to account for the money.Kollie was deputy minister for fiscal affairs at the MFDP when the fund was created.Mrs. Eyvonne Bright-Harding, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sharks Entertainment Incorporated, has been fighting to get the government to protect the 21 businesses earmarked for Liberians under the Liberianization Policy.Bright-Harding produces ice cream, one of the protected Liberian businesses. But in the past year, two foreigners have opened ice cream manufacturing businesses, and a third is underway.“To find ourselves in a situation that money was earmarked for Liberian-owned businesses and find out that the money was not used for the intended purpose is shocking,’’ she said.It is disheartening that the government paid out such a huge amount and have nothing to show for it, she said. Sadly, she said, there is no penalty for people who mismanage public funds.“They will move around and get all the invitations to attend some of the big programs or functions acting as if nothing happened,” she said. “We are waiting and listening to hear what the results will be, and what others will learn from this sad situation,’’ she said.Bright-Harding, who has been in business for over 20 years, said it is important that people repay their loans, because it is good for business and the economy. The fallout from the loan scheme is another indication of the lack of patriotism among Liberians, she said.“Liberians are not being patriotic when they can’t implement the policy that protects businesses earmarked for Liberians,” she added.Bright-Harding wondered whether the Ministry of Commerce and Industry knew about the loan scheme, as it should have informed the small and medium sized businesses that it has been showcasing over the last few years.Kokpor Daynuah, CEO and founder of PANZSIR Cosmetics, a Liberian-owned business, was sad when he heard about the failed loan scheme. He said he applied for the PSDI fund, but didn’t get it. He was shocked to learn that government officials gave loans to themselves instead of small businesses who are struggling to expand.“These are people who don’t own any business and they took something that was intended to change some of our businesses and put us in a better position to put us on par with foreign-owned businesses; and it has been mismanaged by our own people,’’ he said.The government, he said, issued loans without putting regulations and guidelines to determine the criteria for qualifying for the loan. The loan should have been given to existing businesses, he said.“People often complain that Liberian-owned businesses don’t want to expand, but how can those businesses expand when they don’t get the support they need?” he asked. “The failed loan scheme could scare donors away. Donors will be reluctant to support Liberian businesses because it’s been proven that government will give the loans to their friends and relatives, instead of the struggling businesses.”The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) has been working with many small businesses through the Small Business Administration (SBA). “Why did MFDP create a loan program when there was a structure at MOCI?” Daynuah asked further.Another businesswoman who spoke to our team of reporters yesterday in the Paynesville community said the behavior of the government officials has caused serious problems for businesspeople.Angie M. Howard, Chief Executive Officer of Falama Inc, told this paper that she knew about the loan at the Ministry of Finance but those who were leading the process told her that there was no money in the PSDI account.She said because of the long bureaucracy in obtaining the loan, “I decided to forgo it and invest my own personal cash into my business. I was fed up with being told ‘go come back tomorrow.’”Fortunately, all four of these Liberian businesses have improved over the last four years, much against the odds. Noteworthy among them is J-Palm, which has won multiple awards because of his insightful business model and the innovation that it pursues. Sharks Enterprise (Bright-Harding) is a diversified catering service – they don’t sell only ice-cream and pop-corn. Falama (Howard) is now into packaging coconut water and Panzsir (Daynuah) moved its production line from a small workshop in Brewerville, Montserrado County to Nimba County, where expansion has improved production and safety standards.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

La Mirada gets sweet revenge

first_imgNorco, which held a 9-6 advantage in shots, finished 13-3-2. “We really wanted to win this game,” Cope said. “We wanted to prove to (Norco) that we could go to the quarterfinals.” La Mirada showed it from the start. The Matadores controlled the ball early before getting a solid scoring chance in the 11th minute. The opportunity came after a foul was called on Norco just outside the penalty area. Senior captain Sha Wheeler then fired a hard shot on the free kick. The ball first glanced off Norco goalie Shawnda Fredrickson before ricochetting off the cross bar to a wide-open Cope. The senior easily put it to the right of Fredrickson for a 1-0 advantage. LA MIRADA – Revenge proved to be sweet for the La Mirada High School girls soccer team Tuesday. Senior midfielder Lauren Cope scored in the 11th minute and the Matadores survived several scoring opportunities by visiting Norco in the second half to score a 1-0 victory in a CIF-Southern Section Division III second-round game. La Mirada (17-9-2), which had lost to Norco earlier this season, earned a quarterfinal road game against either Garden Grove Pacifica or Chadwick on Thursday. It will be the Matadores’ second consecutive trip to the quarterfinals and their third in the past five years. center_img “It hit the cross bar, I think,” Cope said. “I really can’t remember. I was just in the moment and I hit it with by leg and it went in. “You have to be ready and put it in. And that’s what I did.” The early score fit into the game plan of the Matadores and coach Dennis Guerra. “My defense, I have one sophomore and four seniors,” Guerra said. “So, we’re solid at defense. “We want the lead. If we get the early lead, we’re able to control (the ball) and play it.” Norco, the No. 1 team from the Mountain View League, didn’t actually quit trying, however. The Cougars peppered the attacking zone for much of the second half only to be denied at every turn. Norco’s best chance came in the 52nd minute. Forward Megan Lopez dribbled down the side of the penalty area and directed a crossing pass to midfielder Amanda Koman. But La Mirada’s Julie Reich deflected the attempt, which was grabbed by keeper Kiki Salazar to preserve the 1-0 lead. Salazar had three saves. The Cougars also had solid chances in the 68th and 75th minutes. On the first attempt, Caitlin Villareal got loose down the side before sending the ball to Courtney Inglis, who was about 10 yards out and took a shot that went wide. Audrey Ameduri had a chance down the side in the 75th minute, but La Mirada’s Tatiana Cortez recovered to deflect the ball for a corner kick. Nichole Smith’s crossing pass first was cleared by Wheeler, but the ball went right to Julie Falksen at the top of the penalty area. Her shot was straight on but high. “They are an offensive team, and they were pressuring us. But we held on,” Guerra said. “I told the girls, `Just don’t give them anything open, pressure them, and make them make the great play and allow your keeper a chance to make a great save.’ ” steve.ramirez@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3061 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Off beat: Mount St. Helen’s bleak landscape a fit for ‘The Road’

first_img‘The Road” to ruin went through Mount St. Helens.That was one legacy of the eruption that devastated areas around the volcano on May 18, 1980.Our story Thursday on the 37th anniversary of the blast focused on research taking place on the peak. Some scientists are investigating the geological processes; others are documenting how life returns to a sterile wasteland.But the last 37 years of Mount St. Helens history includes people who really had their hearts set on that sterile wasteland. They were filming “The Road.”It’s the saga of a man, played by Viggo Mortensen, and his son trekking through an America devastated by an unspecified apocalypse. Several scenes were shot in the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument on July 25, 26 and 27, 2008.When the film was released in 2009, The Columbian talked with Rod Ludvigsen, who was the volcanic monument’s special-use permit administrator before he retired.The filmmakers “liked the devastated area, with the standing dead trees and the trees blown down, and the limited vegetation,” Ludvigsen said.“That was the year we had half the road slumped away on the Windy Ridge highway, and there were several large fissures in the road at different locations, so we had that road closed to general-public vehicle traffic,” Ludvigsen said.last_img read more