According to the former Grand Bassa Senator, the US$25.00 will be paid through air tickets for trips to Liberia from the United States, China and other parts of the world as “airport tax”.
He told The Capitol Times that this is done everywhere around the world where travelers pay airport taxes for specific purposes often unknown.
The LAA Board Chairman indicated that it disingenuous for anyone to construe this as being a way of robbing travelers.
“We want to have a modern airport terminal with high tech security protection that will avert any future danger.
He said the money will be collected by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on behalf of the LAA to avoid any foul play.
Speaking on Monday before the House Committee on Ways, Means and Finance during public hearings to show reason for the increase, former Senate Pro-Temp Gbehzongar Findley said the Government of Liberia will realize 1.5 million US Dollars each year which will go towards payment of the Chinese USD$50million Dollars, and it will generate more revenue for the Government of Liberia, and create more air traffic at the RIA.
He said the agreement will enable the management of RIA to expand on its social corporate responsibility in the country in adhering to air traffic laws in line with international best practices.
The Chairman on Ways, Means and Finance Nimba County Representative Jeremiah Koon praised the agreement and said it will enhance revenue and improve the job market in the country, and promote air transport.
Representative Koon therefore called on his colleagues to ratify the agreement in the interest of the country, as Liberia moves towards the millennium development goals.
Several lawmakers that attended the public hearing embraced the concessional loan agreement between the Government of Liberia and China, but expressed apprehension over the payment and said “we hope this will not be another opportunity for some officials to squander the Liberian peoples’ money.”
According to RIA board Chairman The concessional loan has a 20 year maturity period, which includes a grace period of 7 years with an annual loan interest rate of 2 % and It has a management fee of 0.5%, while a commitment fee of the same percentage-0.5.
“All of the proceeds of the loan facility shall be used and applied by the Government to solely pay one hundred (100%) of the commercial contract with China Harbor Engineering Company Limited, which is the Chinese supplier,” President Sirleaf said.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf last week submitted the Chinese Concessional Loan Agreement to the House of Representatives in the tune of 350,000,000 Chinese Yuan, equivalent to US$50 million, for timely ratification to urgently upgrade facilities at the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
Plenary of the House after receiving the President’s communication mandated the Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning and Judiciary and Transport to scrutinize the Loan Facility to upgrade the expansion project at the RIA and report on Thursday September 29 2016
Finance and Development Planning Minister, Boima S. Kamara and Justice Minister, Counselor Fredrick Cherue last week signed on behalf of the Liberian Government.
Minister Kamara described the rehabilitation of the RIA as key to Liberia’s economic transformation, thus leading to an increase in the airport’s capacity to serve more flights, passengers, reinvigorate the economy and grow tourism.