The Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) has received a pledge of a staggering US$400,000 from the Liberian government for what the group calls its Liberian Diaspora Initiative Fund (LDIF), whatever that means.
This amount, which has generated serious concern among several Liberians, including this newspaper, the Daily Observer, was pledged by the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill, who represented President George Weah at ULAA’s 47th inaugural ceremony on March 27, 2022.
What ULAA has forgotten is that its vast membership, spread throughout the United States of America (USA), live and work in the world’s richest country. Because of this great privilege, do these USA Liberians not realize the truism in the Biblical dictum, “To whom much is given, much is expected”?
Have they ever heard of what some other Africans in the USA and elsewhere, for example Cameroonians, Nigerians, Ghanaians, Ivoirians and South Africans, do for their countries from their situations in the Diaspora? These Africans in the Diaspora do not only send back home money to support the families they left behind, but also contribute handsomely to public causes at home, especially in education and community development throughout their countries.
We are not saying that some Liberians in the Diaspora do not support causes in Liberia. Alumni of several of our educational institutions, including the University of Liberia, Cuttington University and others, contribute regularly and handsomely to their alma maters; and many of our other compatriots send home money regularly to help with county development and family matters. But to expect the Liberian government to contribute to Diaspora initiatives in Liberia is a bit much.
Do these Diaspora Liberians not realize that the Liberian government is itself at this time experiencing dire economic and financial straits? — and not the government only but several other entities, which often find it painfully difficult meeting their monthly payrolls? Why? Because the economy is so desperately bad—THERE IS NO MONEY. Many institutions, including the very government and even the churches, educational, religious and other institutions, find it difficult meeting their monthly payrolls. We in the newspaper business are not exempt from this desperate and painful state of affairs.
Our compatriots in the Diaspora must realize that our fellow Africans in many parts of the developed world, including indeed Liberians themselves abroad, constantly strive to reach out to their people back home with financial and other support.
They realize that they must, otherwise many of their people back home will starve because things are tough and desperate. How many times must we repeat this desperate and painful refrain—THERE IS NO MONEY!
Why must we continue to say that? Because we in Liberia are experiencing the worst economic and financial situation we have ever had in many decades. We are facing perhaps the worst economic situation since the Austerity years of the Tubman era in the sixties and since the war years.
The government of President George Weah must strive hard to come up with some quick solutions to bring us out of this desperate and painful quagmire; otherwise our people will perish by starving to death. President Weah and all of his key lieutenants, including Ministers McGill of Presidential Affairs and Tweh of Finance, must come up with quick and concrete solutions to bring us out of this quagmire of desperation and regression.