Monrovia – Minister of Finance Samuel Tweah says that Liberia meeting the requirements of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Scorecard has changed the negative narrative that the opposition had been promoting five years ago.
MCC’s scorecards play an important role in the competitive selection process to determine which countries are eligible to establish a five-year grant agreement known as a compact. A country is considered to have “passed” the scorecard when it fulfills at least 10 of the 20 indicators, which include the “Control of Corruption” indicator and either the “Civil Liberties” or “Political Rights” indicator.
In the 2024 fiscal year report released by the MCC, Liberia’s performance exceeded expectations by passing 14 of the 20 indicators. These 14 indicators encompass various aspects, including fiscal policy, inflation, political rights, civil liberties, control of corruption, trade policy, rule of law, freedom of information, gender in the economy, land rights and access, health expenditures, access to credit, employment opportunities, and immunization rates.
Addressing journalists in Monrovia a day after the news broke about the MCC scorecard, the Minister said that the high pass on the MCC scorecard shows that all criticism from opposition politicians is untrue and meant to make the government unpopular.
“No President has faced the difficulties that President Weah has faced. There has been a President who did not have to deal with the democratic right, who had all the power to themselves and no restraint. Meaning, anything the president says is ok. If you criticize him, he puts you in jail. But he (President Weah) has made our democracy to an extent where people can criticize him freely, and he cannot do anything to them. If somebody lies to you and says you steal, you cannot do anything because the person’s constitutional rights are protected,” Minister Tweah said.
The finance minister added: “George Weah is the first social media president. There will be another social media president coming after President Weah, but he is the first one to start dealing with the lies and the propaganda that have now been dispelled by the high pass of the MCC scorecard that we are talking about here today.”
He further stated that based on the global economic situation, the propaganda and lies from critics have made some Liberians turn against the CDC-led government.
Minister Tweah continues: “The government’s biggest challenge in the last five years is nothing more than propaganda and lies. That was our biggest challenge. Our biggest challenge is that masses of Liberians throughout the country have been fed with garbage and lies packaged in a way that makes people want to believe it, especially during tough economic times. So, the circumstances aided and abetted the lies because of the tough global economic situation. Politicians say anything, and it makes the people angry, and they get frustrated.”
According to Minister Tweah, the success of the MCC scorecard did not happen overnight. It shows that the government has been working since the inception of the CDC-led government five years ago.
“Everything that is coming up through the MCC scorecard today did not happen today. The food has been cooked, and we are eating the soup now after cooking it three to four years ago. So, now that you are eating, you must appreciate the time the food was on the fire,” he said.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation is an independent U.S. foreign aid agency established in 2004 under the leadership of Republican President George W. Bush. The agency’s mission is to foster economic growth, open markets, and enhance living standards in select countries. The MCC applies specific criteria to guide its work abroad, focusing on indicators that measure a country’s commitment to good governance, economic freedom, and investment in its citizens. Selected countries receive substantial grants to finance projects aimed at reducing poverty through sustainable economic growth. These projects typically involve infrastructure development, institutional reform, and the expansion of access to healthcare and education. MCC grants may complement other U.S. and international development programs. The MCC provides two primary types of grants: compacts and threshold programs.
Compacts are large, five-year grants awarded to countries that meet MCC’s eligibility criteria, while threshold programs are smaller grants provided to countries that come close to meeting these criteria and are dedicated to improving their policy performance. Liberia has been benefiting from MCC support since July 2010 when a three-year, US$15 million threshold grant was launched. This program concluded in December 2013. In January 2016, the MCC and Liberia initiated a five-year, US$257 million compact aimed at spurring economic growth and poverty reduction in Liberia.
The primary focus of this compact was to address the lack of reliable and affordable electricity access in the country, as well as the poor quality of road infrastructure. A significant portion of the funding was allocated to the revival of the Mt. Coffee Hydro Power Plant, and the compact was successfully completed in January 2021.
The remarkable performance of the Weah administration for the fiscal year 2024 marks a significant turning point, breaking the chain of previous failures. Since its inception in 2017, the current administration has been actively pursuing a second compact. This latest MCC report provides a boost to Liberia’s prospects of re-entering the program. It comes at a crucial time as President Weah faces a tough re-election battle against his political rival, former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai.