Amid Biting Hardships, Senate Wants Full Disclosure on Actual Status of Liberian Economy

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Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence

Committees to cite LRA, CBL, MFDP

The Senate at its 13th day sitting yesterday voted unanimously to mandate it’s Committees on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget, Banking and Currency to cite the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Liberian Central Bank (CBL) and Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) “to present the actual status of the country’s economy.”

This development comes against a backdrop of claims by former President Sirleaf that she left US$155 million in the national coffers and counterclaims by President George Weah that the country is broke with its economy in a free fall.

Presidential Press Secretary Sam Mannah appeared to have upped the ante when he disclosed in a recent radio interview that only US$55 (fifty-five U.S. dollars) was left in the accounts of the Ministry of State, with 91 percent of its total budget already exhausted.

Meanwhile, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, chair of the Senate Committee on Rules, Order and Administration, has requested the House’s plenary to have the three financial institutions brief the committee on the financial statements of the reserved balances and realistic projections on revenue collections.

Sen. Lawrence said her communication, the second in recent months, was prompted this time by the statement of President George Weah during his first Annual Message, that his government has inherited a broken economy and a broke government.

This announcement has led to many arguments, including a counterclaim by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who, in a BBC interview, declared that she left an amount of US$155 million dollars in the nation’s coffers.

It can be recalled that the Senate few months ago received several communications in which concerns were raised about the downward trend of the country’s economy. The Senate’s communication was accompanied by requests for intervention of the Senators.

In one her communication to her colleagues, Senator Lawrence on the eve of the October 10, 2017 presidential and legislative elections, warned of a looming and imminent economic danger if the government did not institute the necessary austerity measures in time to improve the situation.

Sen. Lawrence’s stance was buttressed by her fellow Grand Bassa Senator Jonathan Kaipay who, together with Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sherif, went further by requesting the outgoing administration to inform the nation on the status of the economy that would be inherited by the next leadership.

The mandate of the two committees chaired by Bomi County Senator Morris G. Saytumah and A. Marshall Dennis of Grand Gedeh County is to conduct hearings into the concerns raised in the soonest possible time in the wake of a continuing rise in the exchange rate of the US dollar on the parallel market.

Financial experts have reportedly welcomed President Weah’s pronouncement to conduct a comprehensive audit of all government agencies, after he disclosed that the Ministry of State inherited only US$55 in its coffers.

10 COMMENTS

  1. The Labor Ministry and the president’s team of economic advisors should be able to tell exactly where Liberia’s economy stands. That said, the Liberian Senate must do its part also. For nearly 16 years now, Liberia has had no coins. It’s the Senate’s responsibility to convene a hearing on this particular issue. It is most utterly criminal and downright stupid for a body of 5 million people to live in a country and use no coins. What’s the problem? Like all the nations if the world, Liberians deserve to have its own coins. Are we isolationist? Why? What’s to be gained?

  2. Why we not reporting the consolidated budget instead of the ministry of presidential affairs and what if is the function of such fund?

  3. My dear intellectual friend and brother, F. Hney
    I know your comment is well on time.
    We need our own coin. The paper notes have a short life span. By the time it is 2 years old, they cannot be used anymore. The quality of production is very poor.

  4. Did she say or write $155 Million and actually left only 55 million dollars at the Ministry of State’s coffer as the nation’s coffer? Did the last administration under her leave $100 million in the nation’s coffer and kept $55 at the State Ministry’s coffer where her office was until she encumbered 91% of the 55 million? Even though the Legislature has to tell the Liberian people how much the nation actually has, in order that the budgetary appropriations for 2018-2019 can be appropriately estimated, It is the duty of the President and his executive branch to show the actual amount left in the coffers of the nation. This is the immediate reason why each Ministry should be audited, if there is doubt about the amount let in the nations hiding money place. This President just like the last did not win but 34% of registered votes. Let us caution him that his executive power is subjected to silent control. The silent majority which still holds majority over 57+ registered voters will no longer encourage unaccountable natural resources, as diamond, gold, uranium, etc, agriculture products as leafs with products, others like rice, cassava that should bring the poor to standard. Regardless what we have been left with or how much we will be generating in the near future or how much resources, this nation has every right to know whether it is presently broke or not right now. The Legislature must request its financial status from the Executive in actual financial terms or face the consequences of the next budget 2018-2019 Executive submission plus Legislative approval. The silent majority is standing by to recommend impeachment and curb corruption to uplift the Liberian standard of living in peace of the Liberian nation. Let the Liberian people know. Do not reply my box.
    Gone to silence.

  5. Error corrected: ” it is 2 years Old, they cannot be used “. Should be , ” it is 2 years old, it cannot be used”.

  6. Gen. Bah,
    You’re spot on. We need coins. It’s been approximately 16 years now and we haven’t been able to get it. As you rightly said, after the paper money circulates out there for two years, the markings become unrecognizable, and very dirty. Our kids do not know what on earth a coin is. How long can we go on like this?

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