-Accuses CDC led-government of embarking on a journey of ‘self-serving economics’
Alexander B. Cummings, who was re-elected unopposed as political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) over the weekend, said amid the challenging global economic situation in 2017, Liberians expected new and fresh ideas to improve their livelihoods when they voted in George Manneh Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) as President of Liberia. However, he says that decision was mistaken and their trust misplaced.
Mr. Cummings said it is important for Liberians to think wisely during the 2020 senatorial and 2023 general and presidential elections to right those wrongs that have caused Liberia to take a downward turn.
He accused the CDC-led government, headed by President George M. Weah, of embarking on a journey that he referred to as ‘self-serving economics,’ which seems to be working only for people within the government, not the citizens who voted him for change.
Mr. Cummings made those remarks last Saturday in the commercial city of Ganta, Nimba County, at the ANC’s 3rd national convention.
“The jobs are not forthcoming, businesses are folding up and our new leaders have embarked on a journey of ‘self-serving economics’ that seems to be working only for them,” he said. “The cost of living is becoming unbearable by the day, while a cabal of inexperienced and incompetent people pillage the National Treasury and are enriching themselves to the detriment of the broad mass of the people.”
Following the first round of the 2017 presidential elections, Cummings, as ANC standard bearer, became one of the early influences in the outcome of the subsequent run-off election between the Unity Party standard bearer Joseph Nyumah Boakai and CDC standard bearer George Manneh Weah. Faced with the decision of whether to lead his partisans in favor of either of the two run-off candidates, Cummings told his supporters that each ANC partisan voter was free to choose the candidate of their choice in the run-off.
As standard bearer of his party, Cummings was not alone his decision. Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, then standard bearer of the Liberty Party (LP) also set his partisans free to vote for the candidate of their choice in the run-off election. Both standard bearers were party to the Ganta Declaration, an agreement signed in 2017 by standard bearers and political leaders of the then opposition political parties, to hold together to unseat the then ruling Unity Party.
At the 2019 ANC national convention on Saturday, May 4, Cummings said ANC as a party will continue to remain a loyal but critical opposition voice for the vast majority of the people of the country, particularly in the midst of their hopelessness.
“To my fellow citizens, my people… this is no time to wallow in self-pity over our predicament. Yes, we made a mistake as a people by electing this government, based on their promise for change but it is never too late to correct your mistake. 2023 is fast approaching and that will be your opportunity to use the ballot box and CORRECT YOUR MISTAKE!
The ANC political leader said Liberians are no doubt a living testimony of the harsh economic, social, educational and health-related realities that confront us as a people, adding that as the situation stands, there seems absolutely no answer to these burning difficulties.
Mr. Cummings said solving critical problems that border on the lives and survival of a people can never be a child’s play. “That is why,” he said, “the economic woes are far from being over because those at the helm of power simply lack the basic understanding of statecraft to manage the affairs of our country.
“We cannot engage in the tactics of scaring investors away by our actions and inaction and expect the very investors to trust us. Disturbingly, how do we expect to fix the economy when the government’s Economic Management Team is built around a Finance Minister who is obsessed with philosophical platitudes? What has become of the clichés coined and used by President Weah that: “Liberians will no longer be spectators in their own economy”? Those were mere words from him with absolutely no hindsight, least to mention any kind of commitment to act on it.”
Mr. Cummings said the ANC is committed to helping the government create the right and conducive business environment to attract investors’ and to build their confidence.
He recommended that in order for the government to create a conducive environment to attract investors to the country they must take the following decision hard decisions:
- “Eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse of government spending. We must cut down on expenditures especially on the salaries and benefits of those in the Legislature and redeploy to more productive expenditures that will directly benefit the vast majority of our people”;
- Urgently review the regulatory and tax environment with a goal to simplify and ease the process of doing business in Liberia;
- Adequately staff and fund the Liberia Revenue Authority to effectively collect legitimate revenues with a focus on other streams of revenue generations ;
- Revamp processes at the ports to make it easier to import goods as well as export our products to larger markets around the world;
- Initiate a careful review of all Concession Agreements aimed at ensuring Liberia gets its fair share from the value of its resources and to create a conducive working environment for our concessionaires; free from threats and other liabilities;
- Invest in Agriculture, especially in the rural areas and strengthen the capacity of our farmers by providing support to both cash crops and food crops sectors;
- Uphold the rule of law and sacredness of the independence of our Judiciary, to allow them to dispense justice without fear and favor and void of any intervention or undue influence. This will give investors, as well as our people, explicit confidence in our justice system
- Curb Corruption and Stop The Stealing! This cannot be emphasized enough. For many years, you have heard corruption called many different names; from Public Enemy #1, to Cancer, but most importantly, you have felt the negative effects of corruption in every sector of our society and ultimately in your lives.