Hundreds of Liberians using the highway connecting Bomi, Cape Mount and Gbarpolu counties have complained that the blockade by the Joint Security as a result of the State of Emergency announced by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is seriously impeding their movements. They also complained that it will harm the nation’s economy.
The citizens made the disclosure Thursday, August 7, to our reporter who toured the Klay area, where the Joint Security team has a checkpoint.
In an interview with some of these citizens, most of whom are business people and commuters, moving between Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, they said the State of Emergency will damage economic growth for this year, if some of the measures are not reduced in favor of business people.
They noted that from the economic and business perspective, the State of Emergency is a concern to them because it is going stall economic growth.
“The fact is that once your country is under a State of Emergency, which in itself is a disincentive to foreign investors who will not be inclined to choose Liberia until it is lifted,” Maima Kromah, a Liberia businesswoman, who was taking a taxi loaded with goods from Monrovia to Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County, indicated.
A resident of Bomi County, Musa Foday, stated that local investors are already in a state of paralysis. “They will not be inclined to move ahead during this State of Emergency,” he opined.
The traders argued that although the President is trying to stop the further spread of the Ebola virus in Liberia, the timing of the State of Emergency is not ripe. They believe she should have long since declared the emergency back in March when the disease first broke out.
“We agree that she is using her power as the President; but people in rural Liberia need food and other things for their families. So tell me with this kind of situation right now on the this road, how are we going to feed them?” Madam Kromah wondered.
The businesswoman projected that if the emergency extends into December, which is the Christmas season, it will have a severe effect on the nation’s revenue intake.
All the other merchants who spoke with the Observer proposed that the government of Liberia needs to determine a strategic plan in the fight against the Ebola virus. They said the plan must make enough room for the business sector to operate, with very limited restrictions.
President Sirleaf late Wednesday, August 6, declared a State of Emergency through the Republic, to be observed for 90 days (three months).
In declaring the emergency, the President said the government will institute extra-ordinary measures including, if need be, the suspension of certain rights and privileges as mandated by the Constitution.