Three leading civic society organizations, including Naymote Partners for Democratic Development (NAYMOTE), Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), and the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, raised series of concerns over emerging national issues which, they believe, have the propensity to derail political and economic gains the country has made over the past 13 years.
Their concerns range from the management of the Liberian economy, respect for the rule of law and the Constitution, limited political will to robustly fight corruption as well as the dwindling of civic space for citizen’s participation in the democratic process, and freedom of press.
Anderson Miamen, CENTAL Executive Director, who read yesterday’s press statement on behalf of the CSO group, said they have followed with dismay the deteriorating rate at which the Liberian economy has weakened over the past 13 months.
Miamen said the exchange rate between the Liberian dollars and the United States dollars, is scarily plummeting to the extent that the cost of basic commodities have doubled over the past 12 months. “Despite decisions taken by the government to reduce tariffs on commodities in May 2018,” he said, “it has not made any any tangible impact on the people.”
He continued: “With the pace at which things are proceeding, if the government does not take pragmatic steps to salvage the economy, we are afraid that we would be heading down the slope of hyperinflation,” he warned.
He described the current state of the country’s economy as unbearable for many, especially ordinary Liberians and rural dwellers, “many of them are without jobs and better livelihood opportunities.”
Miamen stressed the need for short-term measures to be undertaken by the government, including the US$25 million mop up exercise, which he said has not worked, thus leading to perpetuation of the country’s woes today.
They further indicated that during their monitoring of activities across the country, they observed a rapid decline in the provision of basic social services, particularly health and education.
“Our evidence shows that conditions at health centers are extremely alarming in all 15 counties to the extent that some of the facilities lack basic essential drugs,” Miamen said.
He however used the occasion to commend the government for establishing a committee to investigate a number of alleged acts of corruption and scandal, including the one committed at the National Housing Authority (NHA), the alleged L$16 billion and the US$25 million mop up exercise as well.”
The group also lauded the government for the establishment of the concession review committee to review all concessions from previous governments.
Meanwhile, the group has called on President George Weah to take decisive steps in the fight against corruption, and also invest and build the capacity of Liberia Revenue Authority to enhance the country’s domestic resource mobilization. They also called on the international community to support a national conference that would come with a solution to salvage the economy.