Liberia: Jonathan Paye-Layleh Laments over Deplorable State of the Economy

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Monrovia – Renowned Liberian journalist and BBC Correspondent, Jonathan Paye-Layleh said nearly 20 years after Liberia’s civil war, the country has made no progress.

Mr. Paye Layleh has spent most of his life reporting about Liberia, both during the turbulence years and in peace time. Of recent, he has been actively involved in supporting basic social programs within his hometown in Nimba County.

In a statement issued in Monrovia, he expressed his disillusionment over what he called successive government’s failure to bring the desired changed Liberians have been yearning for over the years.

“When I diligently covered the civil war in Liberia, starting at age 30, braving the storm to go places to report, I didn’t expect that nearly 20 years after it had ended, we would be in this state. The economy is in tatters. Electricity is a scarce and unavailable commodity,” he said.

It is nearly 20 years since the end of Liberia’s brutal civil war which claimed the lives of over 25,000. Liberia has come a long way since the war. With the setting up of democratic institutions and elections of successive governments, it has attracted billions in aid from the international community. The country itself is rich in natural resources: iron ore, Diamond, Gold and valuable timber species. Despite this huge potential and persistent support, more than 50 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, and basic social services such as water and electricity are still scarce.

Mr. Paye Layleh said it was appalling that 20 years after the gun went silent, Governments have been unable to restore the hope and aspiration of the citizens. Instead, public official are bent on institutionalizing corruption, and milking the state at the detriment of the people.

He said: “The provision of running water is still a dream. The health sector is almost non-existent. Academic institutions are in ruins. Social life is dead. Security sector under-funded.  There’s no hope for young people. The number of street criminals has increased. There are no other social services. People are hungry and have been reduced to beggars Leaders coming to power have raised and dashed the hope of a destitute population. Official corruption just can’t go away no matter who comes to power. Economic crimes are not taken seriously.”

He continued: “Economic criminals are, instead, glorified.  Gross impunity is the order of the day. We have done very little to show we are a serious nation. How come other countries that have gone through similar civil wars, Rwanda for example, are making marked improvements but we are the way we are. Are we a cursed Nation?”

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