Liberia: Mr. President, Our Economic Woes Stem from Poor Governance, Not Global Economic Crisis

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IT WAS NEEDLESS for President George Weah to have mentioned in his Annual Message the country’s economy was adversely impacted in 2019, Liberians lived and are still living that reality – the economic hardship is very vivid.

HOWEVER, it was disingenuous for the President to have attributed the dwindling of the economy to global economic uncertainty, slow recovery of global economic momentum largely due to trade and geopolitical tensions as well as country-specific effects.

THIS EXCUSE put up by our President is lazy and only informs us that he is either not in control or blatantly failing to admit to the realities that have landed the country in this mess.

WE AGREE with the Collaborating Political Parties that countries in the region would have suffered similar fate with Liberia if the global economic crisis is to be blamed for Liberia’s less than 1 percent economic growth for the year 2019. Inflation reached 31.3% by August 2019, up from 26.1% the previous year. The Liberian dollar depreciated by 20 percent and more. 

WHILE OUR economy was slipping down the mud, our neighbors were doing handsomely well in 2019. 

GHANA’S ECONOMIC growth for 2019 was in the neighborhood of 7.6 percent. 

Non-oil growth accelerated to about 6% as the government’s new policies in the agriculture sector and the promotion of agribusiness began to take effect. 

AFTER SLOWING TO 3.5% in 2018 from 3.8% in the previous year, economic growth in Sierra Leone rebound to 4.8% in 2019 driven by increased activities in agriculture and construction as well as the resumption of iron ore production and exports.

GUINEA’S REAL GDP was projected at 6% in 2019 and 2020, underpinned by expansion in services and the extractive subsector, while manufacturing’s contribution remains weak 

AGAIN, WHILE Liberia’s economic growth for 2020 has been projected at 1.4 percent, Sierra Leone would be doing well with 5.8 percent project and 7.0 percent for Ivory Coast. Guinea and Ghana have their fair share of economic improvements.

IN THEIR RESPONSE to President Weah’s Annual Message on Tuesday, the Collaborating Political Parties were keen to point out that “Trade and geo-politics is not responsible for our economic problems. Rather, massive corruption and outright stealing by government officials, mismanagement of government resources, incompetence to implement economic growth and job creation policies and reckless spending by the President are among the reasons for economic hardship. Example of reckless spending is the President flying all over the world on a private jet the country cannot afford while neglecting the cries for help for people struggling in the country.”

IT IS ALSO OUR hope that the continuous call from both members of the opposition and even some high-ranking members of the ruling establishment for the removal of non-performing officials would be taken into consideration for fixing the economy.

WE TOOK KEEN note of the reality that while Liberia’s economy continued to slump, President Weah continued to travel on a private jet with a large entourage. Several outcries from the public over the manner and form in which the President travels continue to fall on deaf ears.

WE APPLAUD efforts of revamping the economy through the agriculture and fisheries sectors. It is our hope that the needed support void of politics would be given to the entities running these sectors.

IT IS ALSO OUR hope that the continuous call from both members of the opposition and even some high-ranking members of the ruling establishment for the removal of non-performing officials would be taken into consideration for fixing the economy.

LIBERIA HAS been in existence for 173 years, yet remains one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world. If we must develop, move past our woes, then some decisive actions must be taken. If we cannot make those pivotal decisions now, we will have to answer to posterity which of course would find it difficult to forgive us for our wasted and misused opportunities. 

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