Monrovia – The Government of Liberia is now busying itself slowing down on its extravagance in a bid to mitigate the financial difficulties it currently faces.
Report by Lennart Dodoo – [email protected]
However, while the government is putting stringent measures in place to salvage the economy, the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), according to unimpeachable sources, is contemplating on renewal its US$1.15 million lease agreement with the Chinese leaser, Qinjian International, for a building it intends to retain as an office.
The lease sparked huge public outcry from the onset in 2014 and even drew the attention of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who subsequently froze the bank account of the regulatory body.
Sources told FrontPageAfrica that the lease agreement would be ending in a couple of weeks and there has not been any effort on the part of the LTA to relocate as the Chairperson, Angelique Weeks, is on the verge of renewing the exorbitant lease agreement.
However, on the side of an open interaction with media on the state of the economy, Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister, Boima Kamara, told FrontPage Africa that he was not in the know of the LTA move to renew the lease agreement. He said he will enquire the truthfulness of the information.
“I am not aware of the any such lease agreement with the LTA, but at this moment government should not engage in wasteful spending,” Minister Boima Kamara said.
Min. Kamara disclosed that government has embarked on a number of austerity measures to mitigate the harsh economic problem the country is faced with.
According to him, cabinet has agreed as a matter of policy to cut by 5% spending by government ministries and agencies and at the same time restricting foreign travels.
This, according to him, has helped government to save over a million United States dollars.
Kamara blamed government reliance on the country’s two main export commodities – iron ore and rubber slumped prices on the world market. He said the shrink in prices of these commodities has to a significant reduction of government revenue.
He noted that to avert the situation, government was putting together a five-year plan that would transform the economy to a manufacturing-based economy that would begin adding value to raw materials extracted from Liberia.
This, according to him, would create additional market for Liberia and at the same time provide employment for Liberians.
Minister Kamara also disclosed that government with support from the European Union and the World Bank was infusing US$5 million into agriculture to ensure that the sector that has one of the highest number of workers is strengthen to boost production and improve livelihood.
“We are doing this so that beginning next year going to 2018 you should begin to see the impact; so that the farmers can begin to realize that they, too, get better quality of life. It is good that when you do investment you have to feel the impact through high profit,” he said.
But in a short term response to the economic situation, Kamara said his ministry would ensure the timely payment of civil servants to ensure household spending.