Senator Jallah: “It is becoming clear that we are not able to do this thing on our own…”
Gbarpolu County Senator, Armah Zolu Jallah, is of the opinion that managing the Liberian economy may be a task too great fo the Government, and the country may need external assistance to get the job done.
“We have to go back to manage the economy, and resources of the country,” Sen. Jallah said. “we might have to go back to the strategy that was employed by the international community to co-manage the resources as in the case of GEMAP; to co-manage the resources of the country with the international community and the government, so major institutions that are revenue generating and representing the international community should sit there and become co-partners in managing, because it is becoming clear that we are not able to do this thing on our own,” Senator Jallah said.
Governance and Economic Management Assistance Program (GEMAP) was an effort, started September 2005, by the Liberian government and the international community, via the International Contact Group on Liberia (ICGL) to reshape the fundamentally broken system of governance that contributed to 23 years of conflict in Liberia.
Senator Jallah also suggested the need to have at least a contingent of about 1000 or 500 ECOWAS peacekeepers so that those in America, Europe and Asia who want to invest in Liberia will have the confidence to come and explore opportunities and create jobs for Liberians.
He emphasized the need to create the atmosphere to encourage investors to feel secured when they invest here; “where are the new major investments we can point to, we need to manage our economy with honesty, and an ECOMOG contingent can help us to build that confidence.”
On the issue of printing of new banknotes, Senator Jallah said that there are still lots of unresolved issues, such as reports that the country’s reserves at the Central Bank of Liberia is not more than US$40 million, “and there is a request to print LD$35 billion. So the reserve itself will not even support the amount of money that is being requested for.”
Secondly, the former Pro-Tempore maintained that to print the new currency, “we need a productive economy that can give support and value to the currency that we print. So we could print, but the amount that is being requested for to print, I will reserve my support.”
“There may be a need to print some money to be able to clear the liquidity problem we have at the banks, but the quantum in which is being requested, our reserve our economic capacity does not support it. You are calling for LD$35 billion and our reserve is US$40 million. It doesn’t make sense. It is going to lead to hyper-inflation, but we should also understand that we have serious liquidity problem in the banks; we might need to print some money maybe LD$4 billion of the most recent currency to be able to serve that liquidity problem, but it can not be LD$35 billion,” the Gbarpolu Senator said.
Senator Jallah said while the country is having a balance of payment issue with the economy importing more goods than it exports, “we also have the situation of trust and we need to solve that urgently, to be able to help us resuscitate the Liberian economy, and I am going to be bringing that to the debate [this week].”
Mediation Ahead of CoP Planned Protest
Meanwhile, the Senate convened in executive session (behind closed doors) on Friday, December 6, for continuation of its extraordinary session with a single agenda item, to discuss the state of the economy. There was no post-discussion press briefing.
With regards to the Council of Patriots’ planned protest, scheduled for December 30, Senator Jallah believes the talks are necessary to revert the country from retrogressing.
He said he has initiated discussions with representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations with the aim to mediate between government and the leadership of the Council of Patriots (COP) over the planned ‘Weah Step Down Campaign’, scheduled for December 30, 2019.
Jallah, a former president Pro-tempore of the Senate, said he has already started holding talks with some senators and eminent Liberians to help with the mediation process.
“The planned protest and the government’s statement against granting of permit to the protesters should concern all of us, not only President George Weah and government officials,” he said.