Dialogue on Liberia’s Economy to Kick off In September
Monrovia – A three-day dialogue on the long-term objective of the National Economic Dialogue (NED) is expected to kick off early next month. The dialogue will focus on strengthening transparent, participatory and accountable economic governance.
Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]
Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh, Chairperson, on the National Economic Dialogue, Monday, August 26, told journalists that debates surrounding Liberia begin and end with talks about the structural macroeconomic challenges facing the country.
According to him, these challenges have not only dampened the Liberian economy, but have also posed considerable risks to the very survival of the people and nation.
He named some of the impacts to include slow growth of the economy, rising prices for basic commodities, a steady rise in the volume of Liberia’s balance of payment deficits, an unending depreciation of the Liberian currency and mounting pressures on closing the gap between revenue and expenditure in the national budget.
“There are hosts of other pressing issues with great impacts on the above-mentioned challenging areas that have also become contentious on the national stage. These pressing issues, which are of outmost concern to the Government, the Liberian people and our development partners, include corruption, governance, local content, reconciliation and decentralization of political, economic and social powers.”
A month ago, President George Weah called for a national dialogue on the state and survival of the economy in an effort to deal with the associated challenges. In response to this call, the UNDP by the request of the government is leading a process towards the organization of the dialogue, in collaboration with our development partners. To date, an Independent National Dialogue Secretariat has been established by Government and partners with the mandate to organize the National Economic Dialogue.
The long-term objective of the National Economic Dialogue (NED) is to strengthen transparent, participatory and accountable economic governance. The purpose of the Dialogue is to stimulate a broad-based national conversation on the state and fate of the Liberian economy; and collectively find ways that would situate Liberia on a path of rapid economic recovery and growth.
Dialogue Structure and Outcome
The Dialogue is set for three days, beginning 4th September and ending 6th September this year. “We all know that three days are not sufficient to adequately deal with the structural development challenges that are starring in our faces day after day, but the Dialogue is a start.”
The forthcoming National Economic Dialogue is expected to bring together at least 250 participants from all parts of Liberia. They will be drawn from the private sector, political parties, labor unions, academia, students, women and youth groups, religious community, traditional leaders, physically challenged and disadvantaged groups, media, civil society organizations, and development partners.
Discussions at the Dialogue are expected to focus Public Finance Mobilization and Management, Investment Promotion and Private Sector Growth, Youth Unemployment and Skills Development, Peace and Reconciliation for Sustained Economic Growth.
“At the close of the three-day event, we intend to reach a national consensus on a set of feasible short and medium-term policy measures, strategies, programs and a time-bound road map aimed at enhancing: speedy economic recovery; sustained inclusive economic growth in Liberia; and peace and reconciliation.
“The consensus document shall be precised and presented to the government, private sector actors, civil society and donor partners during the closing ceremony. We hope and expect that the national consensus will be incorporated in their respective actions and programs as we fix our ailing economy.”