Liberia Council of Churches Describes Govt Economic Policies as ‘Paper Talks’; Says It’s Only Intended to Impress the World Bank and the IMF

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MONROVIA – The Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), through its President, Bishop Kortu K. Brown, has described as mere “paper talks” the economic policies put in place by the Economic Management Team (EMT) of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government, headed by the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Samuel Tweah.

According to him, the economic policies being implored by Minister Tweah and others are only intended to impress the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and other international partners.

He added that these economic policies are not helping to transform the lives of Liberians, particularly the ordinary citizens, but they are only intended to gain favor from these international financial bodies.

Bishop Brown made these comments in an exclusive interview with FrontPage Africa at his offices in Brewerville, outside Monrovia on Thursday, January 7.

He stated that it is sad and regrettable for the country’s economic policies to not be able to put food on the table of citizens, especially ordinary Liberians for over three years running now.

“The Samuel Tweah’s economic policies are leading us nowhere; it cannot translate to bread and butter on the table of Liberians. Government of Liberia economic policies appears more likely to impress the IMF, World Bank and international community than to transform the lives of ordinary Liberians”.

He noted that vast majority of Liberians continue to live in abject poverty as a result of the failure of the government to actualize its economic policies in the interest of the citizenry.

Bishop Brown added that though the IMF and World Bank will make projections that may appear in favor of the country’s growth, these international bodies do not feel the pinch of the shattered Liberian economy as compare to the ordinary citizens in the country.

He called on authorities of the country’s economic management team not to use these proposals as “conclusions that everything is alright” in Liberia.

He added that the true intend or meaning of these proposals from international financial bodies will be misrepresented if those responsible for the growth of Liberia’s economy continue to sit reneging on practicalizing those projections. 

“Government of Liberia’s practitioners who are in charge of the economy must go beyond just offering theories. It is not the IMF or the World Bank that are eating here every day or having difficulties in sending their children to school; so we should go beyond the World Bank and IMF politics. The IMF and World Bank will make the projections, but we have to work on them. Just talking, talking and talking will not improve the lives of the people”.

Bishop Brown continued: “The whole day we are hearing the IMF or World Bank; No, it should be what Liberians are saying. What Liberians are saying is that, life is miserable, there have to be concrete steps taken to be able to advance the standard of living. The government must wake up and address the concerns of the people. And this is a challenge of the Weah government-to listen”.

He called on the Weah led-administration not to delay in calling on other citizens, with the requisite expertise and regardless of political affiliation, to help resuscitate the declining economy and move the country forward.

“You can’t have one person just going around talking about the economy; that’s paper talk. Take your microphone on the streets now and ask Liberians how many of them have their children in school; or how many of them can afford their children school fees. The Minister needs to open up and get experts or Liberians who are able to proffer very good suggestions to advance our economy and not trying to do all alone by paper policies. This is not about CDC; it is about Liberia”.

Citizens want change

Bishop Brown pointed out that the overwhelming defeat of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in key counties in Liberia during the just ended senatorial election across Liberia, shows that citizens want a change in the country.

He termed as a “devastating blow” the massive defeat of the governing party.

Bishop Brown stressed the need for the Liberian Chief Executive to take concrete actions in respond to citizens’ actions exhibited at the polls during the just ended elections.

“The voters were loud and clear; the people say they want change and they do not like the way the CDC led-government is moving. President Weah needs to listen to what the people are saying. The people are saying that they are not happy with the CDC. He must respond to the demands of the voters”.

The Senate

Speaking further, Bishop Brown challenged newly elected Senators in the just ended December 8 senatorial elections to stand for the improvement of the living conditions of the Liberian people.

He noted that despite the high level of excitement among citizens and those elected following the climax of the polls, Senators, bulk of who are from opposition political parties should cement or ensure the establishment of an economic agenda to improve the living standards of citizens.

He said the formation of an economic agenda by new members of the Liberian Senate will help drive a holistic debate on the national budget.

The Liberian Clergyman, however, challenged newly elected members of the Liberia Senate to advocate and take actions in the interest of their people.

 “The new Senate must be defined by a new direction that it wants to take to help take the country out of the numbers of challenges that we faced. We will know a new Senate by the policies or economic proposals that they will bring to the table. There’s a need for an economic agenda that will drive national budget debates in the coming years”.

“The excitement can only be sustained by concrete actions that will transform the lives of the ordinary people. Other than that, those excitements will be short-lived. It will not last for long”.

Bishop Brown added that Senators should ensure check and balance in the governance process of the nation.

He said new members of the National Legislature should not be like their colleagues who sway away from engaging into holistic debates on the national budgets in the past.

He observed that over the years, lawmakers have hastily passed national budgets without debating the line items to ensure that their people benefit from the national cake.

“There have been no real debates on the budget in the whole country. We have been disappointed that budgets have been passed hastily.  The budget is not just numbers; it’s the tool for national development. What is the mandate of the opposition and the ruling party people to be able to advance the living standards of the people? There must be a real budget debate to be able to advance the country”.

2021-Year of repentance, reconciliation and renewal

Bishop Brown, however, called on Liberians, especially government officials to see 2021 as a year of national repentance, reconciliation and renewal.

“This is a year that progress will be difficult if the country is not guided by the spirit of national repentance, reconciliation and renewal. All Liberians, including officials of government should be guarded by these things if we are to make any use of this New Year”.

He noted that government must place keen focus on improving the living conditions of its citizens by taking appropriate actions to advance what he calls “common cause” towards moving the country forward.

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