Liberia: ‘Bottlenecks Strangulating Investment Opportunities in Liberia’ – PUP Chairman Tokpah Mulbah Says
Monrovia – A founding member of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), former Deputy House Speaker Tokpah Mulbah, has expressed serious disappointment over the manner and form in which the country is being governed by the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of President George Manneh Weah.
The CDC is one of the political parties that make up the ruling coalition. The remaining parties are: The former governing National Patriotic Party (NPP), and the Liberian People Democratic Party (LPDP).
Mr. Mulbah, who served as Deputy Speaker in the 52nd National Legislature, is the current Chairman of the Governing Council of the opposition People’s Unification Party (PUP).
According to him, the current steering of affairs of the country remains astonishing to those who placed their lives on the line to ensure that the CDC ascend to power democratically.
Speaking on the OK Morning Rush on OK FM99.5 on Wednesday, Mr. Mulbah stated: “We founded the CDC but some of the things we are seeing here today are not what we expected. We think that this government-with the name pro-poor -should be for the common people. Some of us put our lives on the line for the power that is; at that time to stand for a cause. The table has turned around and we think that some of the things we advocated for to come to being is that, we have somebody there that will be able to leave from here and go in the interior, sit and tell the people the country is for you, and we bring the country to you”.
Mr. Mulbah claimed that the business climate under the current administration appears to be “unfriendly” to attract investors in a bid to provide employment opportunities for citizens.
He added that those who are crafting economic policies should know that “something is wrong when companies that were here before are now leaving”.
The former deputy speaker asserted that unnecessary bottlenecks created by policymakers in government are preventing investors from coming into the country to do businesses or open their companies. “Business climate needs to be favorable for doing business. Liberia today is not favorable for doing business. Our citizens will continue to suffer because any businessman whether you pay additional taxes or give bribe, you will add on the price of your goods”, the former lawmaker averred.
Speaking further, Mr. Mulbah claimed that the salary harmonization process, which was intended to set standard wages of all public officials and civil servants, was not done properly.
According to him, the process has instead, imposed more hardship on civil servants. “The salary harmonization process was not done correctly. These are some of the mistakes that people who up there think that it’s working; but it’s not working”, he said.
Shun from meeting Weah
Mr. Mulbah, however, pointed out that since the inception of the CDC led-government; he has not been given the opportunity to meet with President Weah face-to-face even though, he is one of those who established the CDC.
He added that an attempt made to visit the Liberian Chief Executive once did not materialize. “I made one attempt to see the President, but the protocol was too high and so, I decided to leave him. I was just going to congratulate and offer some advice. But people fail to know that as long as you sit over there as a leader some information will trickle down on you”.
He maintained that despite the situation, President Weah must muster the courage to tour the leeward parts of the country, interact with the locals, especially chiefs, and provide hope for citizens in those areas on the state of the country’s economy. “You need to go into the rural parts of Liberia, talk to the traditional leaders, sit with them and tell them the state of the economy; the people need to feel you. You are not any more political leader; you were elected on a popular mandate of the people and you need to reach to the people to listen to their problems”.
Mr. Mulbah added that the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in Liberia should not be used by President Weah as a scapegoat to shun the commencement of his nationwide tour to citizens across the country. “He (President Weah) was attempting to do so, but after six months when he took over, he should have done so. That’s no excuse”.
Overhaul of health system
Mr. Mulbah further underscored the need for a complete overhaul of Liberia’s health system with the involvement of the experts.
He wondered why Liberia with a declining economy will be providing free healthcare delivery to its citizens, over other countries with booming economies that are not doing the same.
“The system (health) is built to be corrupt and if you don’t change it, you can even bring Jesus Christ here, he will not fix the health system in this country. They need to have an expert to look at it like the Ghanaians were able to do over the years”.
More than that
Meanwhile, Mr. Mulbah expressed concern over money being paid to him as former Deputy Speaker by the Liberian government for benefits. He pointed out that the similar amount of US$550 being paid to ordinary former members of the House of Representatives is the same amount he is receiving even though his benefit should be more. Mr. Mulbah disclosed that despite the situation, he remains grateful because, government has numerous issues and challenges to address. “If you are retired as a lawmaker, they pay you 550USD. I should get more than that, but I don’t want to argue with that. So, they give me US$550 as ordinary Representative, but it’s lower than what they have for Speaker and Deputy Speaker”.
He added: “The government has no resources to be able to expend. For this reason, why should I go to be crying? The money they are paying me, I don’t go there to argue because I have a farm. The only thing is that, the atmosphere here should be conducive for business”.
Shock over Chambers’ leadership
The former Deputy House Speaker of the 52nd National Legislature, however, expressed dismay over the leadership style of the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr. Bhofal Chambers.
He claimed that the Maryland County Pleebo-Sodoken district lawmaker has not done enough to encourage committees’ works at the level of the lower House.
“I am in a shock for Speaker Chambers to not call Directors or Ministers to the House to question their actions, underperformance or alleged corruption. It should not be secret sessions; it should be opened. The only secret session that should be held should be around national security briefing”
“I thought Speaker Chambers was going to be one of the toughest Speakers, because Speaker Tyler was from the ruling party, but he allowed committees to bring people and cross examine them. This will help the system because the President sits in the mansion and he does not know what is happening in all the ministries and agencies. You are not anti to the government by holding public hearings through public hearings”.
He cautioned his former colleagues to do away with wasteful spending if they must sustain them and their respective family members following the expiration of their days in public service. “I am managing what I can manage with my resources and not wasteful spending. This is my advice to my colleagues who left the Legislature and they are struggling to hardly survive. Do not spend above your income”.