Liberia: A Plea To Cdc-Led Government – Prioritize The Bread & Butter Issues

0

LIBERIANS, at least those who can still afford, are being forced to cough up money they do not have and dig deep into their personal savings just to stay afloat.

MANY STUDENTS are out of school because their parents can no longer afford to pay their tuitions, buy books or even uniforms to wear to school.

PRICES OF BASIC commodities and the staple food, rice are rising through the roof and those at the helm of power are struggling for answers while fighting back criticisms against a harmonization program that is resulting into massive, across the board salary cuts that has civil servants in dire straits.

TO TOP IT ALL up, a new regulation put into force on September 1 by the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), pitched as an intervention to calls by mobile network operators. (MNO) “to stop their predatory pricing wars which have stifled sector growth and plummeted revenue significantly over the last few years, is forcing many to prepare for some difficult days ahead.

COMMUNICATION IS about to become costly with many dreading the end to what was popularly known as the three-day free calls.

ALL THIS as those in key government positions have no worry. They get free gasoline, free scratch cards, while those languishing at the end of the economic ladder are left to fend for themselves in a free-falling economy.

THE LTA INSISTS that “the floor price is an appropriate response and an effective tool for price control when market forces fail. 

SAID THE LTA: “We are confident that consumers will experience increased services through fair pricing and providers an increase in overall revenue.  We also expect that consumer behavior will not change more than 10%. The LTA will continue to monitor developments, we have an obligation to assess traffic management, commercial practices and enforce regulations ensuring quality of internet access reflects advances in technology for all in Liberia. The LTA will be working on a new LRIC model for 2020 thru 2025.” 

UNLESS THOSE enjoying the ears of the presidency can begin making a push for prioritizing the basic bread and butter issues, the Weah-led government will continue to experience challenges as the ones Liberians are currently grappling with on a daily basis.

SADLY, IT IS civil servants whose salaries are being sliced that will feel the pinch the most. 

TO PUT THIS INTO proper perspective, a civil servant who making US$500.00, will now see his take home pay going belong $300.00 or less in some cases. This leaves finding food to feed the family, tuition for kids in a serious predicament the average Joe.

UNDER THE NEW PRICING, voice packages will now have a minimum floor price of one point five-six cents per minute (0.0156) on each call provided in packages to customers by their MNO.  Data packages will now have a minimum Floor Price of two-point eighteen cents (0.0218) per Megabyte (MB) of data provided to customers by their MNO.  Monthly minutes and megabytes totals will be used to assess compliance, in other words, their monthly volume. 

THE NEW FLOOR pricing set by the Liberian government is going to change the way Liberians have been communicating via mobile phone for the last five years, bringing a halt to the most-appreciated ‘three days free calls’ promotion on the two GSM Companies operating in the country.

THE IRONY of it all is that those elected and currently serving in the national legislature, who have sat idly by and allow this to play out the way it is playing out, will not be affected. 

MANY OF THE LAWMAKERS have home, cars and other loans that are being deducted from the monthly salaries which is why they have been dragging their feet on the wage bill slashing undertaken by the Ministry of Finance and backed by the International Monetary Fund.

LOST IN ALL of this is the most important aspect that no one is even paying attention to, that the Coalition for Democratic Change led government rode to power on the backs of the poor, vulnerable and oppressed, promising change. Today, however, it is those very people that are feeling the pinch of the government’ aggressive cuts and harmonization policies.

UNLESS THOSE enjoying the ears of the presidency can begin making a push for prioritizing the basic bread and butter issues, the Weah-led government will continue to experience challenges as the ones Liberians are currently grappling with on a daily basis.

IN THE FINAL analysis, it is the ordinary Liberians who are feeling the pinch of a crisis with enormous implications for Liberia’s immediate political economic survival.

Comments
Loading...