Party platform targets infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, economy
The standard bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander B. Cummings, yesterday promised to create 100,000 jobs if Liberians elect him as president on October 10.
Revealing his platform at the party’s headquarters in Monrovia, he said his government would concentrate on infrastructure development, invest in agriculture, health, education, the economy, governance and the rule of law.
He added that if elected, his first 100 days as president will see the immediate commencement of the construction of Kesselly Boulevard to connect Gardnersville to Central Monrovia and the launch of a US$20M empowerment fund to support women, youth-owned businesses and farmers.
Unveiling the ANC’s manifesto or what could be termed as its social contract with Liberians if they elect Cummings as the winner of the October 10 polls, he said an ANC government will usher necessities and satisfaction of life that have eluded Liberians for so many years.
“Electing the ANC will also be the creation of a new chapter of development, prosperity and social cohesion in the history of this country,” he said. “Every day, thousands of Liberians across the country struggle to make ends meet. Liberians are in need of a government that can deliver on promises and that can lead towards a future where the core elements of a good life (health, quality education, employment, and safety) are neither luxuries nor the sole domain of a small segment of our population.”
An ANC government will represent and stand for real change, Cummings asserted, adding that the ANC seeks prosperity and security for all Liberians. “We understand Liberians want jobs to support their families. So our socioeconomic and jobs creation policies will aim at developing Liberia’s human capacity through investment in education, vocational training, and healthcare to ensure the youth, who make up 65 percent of the population, are prepared for the job market.”
Up to now, many Liberians remain undecided as to tho they will be voting for because almost all of the political parties, especially the leading ones — the ANC aside, have refused to present to them their platforms or what they intend to do if elected. The only other party that has unveiled their platform is the United People’s Party.
It is becoming apparent that many of the parties with no platforms are intentionally planning to make their way to the presidency using generalized rhetoric — banking on a possibly gullible electorate.
A platform, for clarity, is a formal document containing a set of ideals and principles which are supported by a party, that appeals to the general public, for the ultimate purpose of garnering the general public’s support and votes on complicated topics or issues. The ANC seems to be only the second political party to unveil its manifesto during this election campaign season.
Cummings said at the press conference an ANC Government will create an export-oriented agriculture sector that will seek to generate income for farmers and tax dollars to help fund national development programs.
The ANC plan also focuses on low-tech but labor-intensive manufacturing and tourism sectors, ensuring a place for every Liberian in the job market as the ANC seeks international investment partners.
“Our people want a Liberia with a booming economic growth, stability, and opportunities, and the ANC’s platform is designed to achieve these,” he said.
Build roads that connect all our major cities within six years. This nationwide transport network will create jobs, increase access to markets and improve access to health.
Increase access to electricity to every major city by expanding the electricity distribution system and the use of solar energy. Increase and improve access to internet connectivity across Liberia.
With its program in the agriculture sector, the ANC plan indicates that Liberia will be closer to feeding itself within six years. “We will increase the output of farmed products by supporting the many farmers in the country with the tools and resources needed to be successful; strengthening rural infrastructure capabilities and increase access to financing,” the platform indicates.
The party will also focus on agricultural training and research and leverage technology to increase farmers’ outputs.
Private free quality healthcare for every child up to six years old and elders above 65, and provide affordable healthcare to the rest of Liberians through a healthcare insurance system.
Strengthening the healthcare system by improving the system and increasing the quality of the health care delivery system by focusing on primary and preventive care.
Provide free quality education up to high school and focus on early childhood education for Liberian kids.
Prioritize vocational and technical training as alternative beyond primary education to provide young people employment opportunities.
Focus on teachers training to improve the quality of teachers and the quality of education Liberian children are receiving.
Job creation and the Economy
Massively reduce unemployment by 40 percent within six years by annually creating over 100,000 new jobs for Liberians, especially the youth.
Provide millions of dollars in micro-loans to small and micro businesses and as well provide basic business training programs to help them grow their businesses.
Governance and the Rule of Law
Ensure robust anti-corruption efforts by strengthening integrity institutions, combating frauds and abuses and eliminating wasteful spending.
Gender parity and youth inclusion
Increase gender participation within government by 40 percent. Ensure youth are trained with the requisite skills that would prepare them for the job market.
National Security and Foreign Policy
Secure the peace and the safety of the Liberian people. The ANC government will reorient the foreign policy of the country with a view towards the economy and attract investors. “Our embassies will become economic centers to increase foreign direct investments.”
The ANC’s First 100 Days “Talk and Do” Plan:
- Will begin building Liberian roads for the Liberian people. Begin the construction of Kesselly Boulevard to immediately relieve congestion and connect both sides of Monrovia. Immediately identify and fix many of the critical hot spots that cause breakdowns on critical routes such as River Cess to Maryland, Ganta to Tappita onward to Zwedru; Ganta to Sanniquellie. Ensure all road projects funded by tax dollars are constructed by Liberians.
- Create good quality jobs for youth and help women get into business. Create 100,000 immediate jobs for the youth to rehabilitate social infrastructure including schools, community help centers, and sanitary facilities in various communities. Launch a US$20M empowerment fund to support women, youth-owned businesses and farmers.
- Revive agriculture to boost the economy and reduce cost of food for every Liberian. Convene a forum with farmers and experts from across the country to make recommendations.
- Create a pro-business government to support economic growth, freeze all taxes and regulations at current levels while reviewing the appropriate business friendly tax and regulatory environment. Implement improved pay and conditions of service of the security sector employees, healthcare workers, and teachers.
- Foster entrepreneurship by establishing an Economic Stimulus Program (ESP) for the provision of microfinance schemes for new businesses and farmers to kick start focus on entrepreneurs and enterprise development to support SME business incubation.
- Stimulate economy to benefit Liberians and the creation of jobs. Begin the robust enforcement of the Liberianization Policy by immediately conducting an audit of all businesses that are operating under the category secured for Liberians only. Institute the adoption of “Buy Liberian” procurement and maintenance policy by all government apparatuses and parastatals to support domestic businesses. Government’s 50 percent procurement localization target made an integral component of the annual audit process.