The achievements of the agenda for Vision 2030 have come under the spotlight with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expressing doubt as to their implementation.
In the annual State of the Nation address, the President disclosed that the Agenda for Transformation pointed out that the national Vision 2030 would only be achieved if there is economic transformation that addresses the long standing structural deficiencies in the system.
According to the President, “the beginning years of our national recovery required reactivation of growth in those traditional economic sectors; however, these latter years demand a commitment not to repeat the mistakes of the past. We should rather respond to inequality by lifting a larger number of the Liberian populace out of long-standing poverty through inclusive growth.”
President Sirleaf identified as part of the chronic deficit in Liberia’s growth potential a large undiversified economy dependent on traditional export products; iron ore, rubber and timber, which she said, are exposed to the global markets’ volatility.
The Liberian leader said, despite these historical constraints and the sluggishness of global economic recovery in the last two years, the Liberian economy would continue to be resilient.
President Sirleaf explained, however, that growth and progress could have registered at even higher levels if greater effort had been made to unleash the potential consistent with the more than US$16 billion which was mobilized in Direct Foreign Investment.
She said: “As we move to address historical constraints, infrastructure is a first priority.”
The President added that an economic constraints analysis conducted by the government in collaboration with the Millennium Challenge Corporation identified electricity and roads as the two biggest constraints of economic growth and private investment in Liberia.
The Liberian leader furthered that many challenges remain in improving financial management; a state of affairs exacerbated by unduly long procurement processes. The President declared this situation must be corrected.
“We are addressing these shortcomings by strengthening the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework budget process; strengthening the technical capacity of the Project Management Office in the Department of Budget; and reviewing the laws, provisions and organizational arrangements in the procurement process.”
Madam Sirleaf concluded that the Government would implement stringent guidelines relating to State-Owned Enterprises (SOE); which would no longer be allowed to make discretionary disbursements, approved by self-serving company boards that are not in conformity with the nation’s priorities and goals.