‘Dialogue Outcomes to Be Backed by Political Will’

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President George M. Weah (far left) and other VIPs at the opening of the National Economic Dialogue

— President Weah assures, as public financial management, youth unemployment top national economic dialogue forum 

By David A. Yates and Robin Dopoe

In the midst of the prevailing economic hardship, President George Weah has assured Liberians of his administration’s willingness to take into consideration recommendations under advisement, and where and when necessary, will back them with political will required for successful implementation.

Weah made the commitment on Wednesday, September 5, 2019 in Monrovia at the opening a three-day National Economic Dialogue (NED), which discusses the country’s fiscal situation, public finance mobilization and management, etc.

“As you are aware, the theme of the Dialogue is ‘National Economic Revival and Growth: Critical Issues, Challenges, and a Way Forward. Therefore, I am convinced that your findings and recommendations will support and enhance the attainment of the goals and objectives of our national development plan, the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD),” the President said.

The NED focuses on Public Finance Management (PFM), as well as Investment Promotion and Private Sector Growth, Youth Unemployment and Skills Development, and Peace and Reconciliation for Sustained Economic Growth.

President Weah, who declared the dialogue opened, recalled that in June of this year, he advised Liberians to cooperate with his administration to devise and support new measures, which could successfully address structural defects and imbalances in the economy.

He said it was based on deep concerns for the current state of the country’s economy that he established an independent national economic dialogue secretariat to conduct the event. Liberia’s former Planning Minister, Toga Gayewea Macintosh, chairs the NED secretariat.

Weah added, “You may recall that in my first Annual Message, which was given one week after I assumed the Presidency in January last year, I informed the nation that the state of the economy that my administration inherited left a lot to be desired. There were structural challenges, which would require major adjustments if they were not to continue having a negative impact on macro-economic stability.”

“I am highly impressed by the caliber of the various panelists, both Liberians and foreign partners, and the depth and range of their experience and knowledge in their respective fields, all of which are expected that they will bring to bear in searching for lasting solutions to our economic woes,” he said.

Weah recalled how the issues of liquidity, and a persistent decline in the value of the Liberia currency, compounded by reducing inflows of foreign exchange and investments, placed upward pressure on inflation.

President Weah added, “I am not an economist, and will never pretend to be one. Yet, the mantle of leadership that has been placed upon me, gives me direct responsibility to find lasting solutions to repair our broken economy and make life better for our people.

“You will recall that on previous occasions, I have welcomed the idea for Liberians to work together to tackle our toughest problems, and then seek the choices that will lead to changes that would have broad positive effects,” the President said.

Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh, Head of NED Secretariat, said the forum is intended to strengthen transparency, participatory and accountable governance. According to him, the economic discussion will help stimulate a broad-based national conversation on the state and fate of the country’s economy; and to collectively come out with ways that would situate Liberia on a path of rapid economic recovery, sustainable inclusive growth, and social transformation.

NED is a part of ongoing efforts in support of the PAPD to address critical national issues to move the country forward.

Dr. McIntosh said the task at hand is huge, but one that can be overcome with the commitment from Liberian people; the strong political will of the government that would increase confidence at all the levels of parties to generate the required force for the task.

“We all know that the three days are not sufficient to adequately deal with the structural development challenges, but the dialogue is a major step in the right direction. the President said.”

Dr. McIntosh also told the participants that at the end of the dialogue, a national consensus would evolve on a set of short and medium-term policy measures, strategies, programs and a time-bound road map aimed at enhancing speedy economic recovery; sustained economic growth, and peace and reconciliation.

He then appreciated the government, the UNDP, bilateral and multilateral partners for their support, encouragement and hard work to ensure that “we have a successful dialogue.”

Macintosh stressed that there are series of challenges in the country, citing that debates around the country begin and end with a talk about the structural macroeconomic challenges facing the economy, something he said has dampened the economy and posed considerable risks to the survival of every Liberian.

He said that the impact of these challenges have led to slow growth of the economy, rising prices for basic commodities, a steady rise in the volume of the country’s balance of payment deficits, among others.

He, however, noted that these pressing issues which are the utmost concern of the government, the Liberian people and development partners, include corruption, governance, local content, reconciliation and decentralization of political, economic and social power, and as such the dialogue will address these issues.

The National Economic Dialogue, which is being organized by the National Economic Dialogue Secretariat under the theme: “National Economic Revival and Growth. Critical Issues, Challenges, and the Way Forward,” is expected to run from September 4-6.

The forum is being supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP); European Union (EU); United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

9 COMMENTS

  1. This dialogue or whatsoever it is called is a waste of time. Liberia is not short of policy prescriptions. There are tons and tons of it wasting in the dust bins of government agencies. It is a sham. What is required is political will and it start with Weah coming clean by declaring his assets. You cannot shortchange the Liberia people and expect different result. You have a finance minister overspending the budget, Weak wearing $12,000 shoes and expect economic growth. I am surprised at the UNDP and USAID for taking this on, especially for a president who party chairman also caused the problem with their incompetence. Liberians in the Diaspora should kill this economy by stop sending remittances for six months so we can see what happens to this joker of a government. Weah and his gong leaving office is the best option here.

    • F. Hney, if you are less busy, just get a cold glass of beer and relax. Does this Mr. Sr. Engineer sound like a presidential material to you? Look at those types of elementary questions he is asking? He is talking about economy and engine of economy. Let me answer few of the questions you asked him: 1. He did not get a single vote 2. He got 0 legislative votes 3. He was his own campaign advisor and that is why he did not go any further 4. He fool to run again

  2. I seriously do not know what they call economy.
    What is the engine of an economy?
    Do any of us have the Skills, KnowHows to know what an economy is?
    Donations from other nations isn’t an economy.

  3. Mr. Curran
    Senior Engineer, 2017 Independent Presidential Candidate

    Gentleman,
    From your perspective, could you tell us what is meant by an economy? Also sir, could you elaborate on the engine of an economy?

    Apples and Oranges:
    I apologize if you or any reader thinks that I am mixing apples and oranges. Answer this question….
    What happened to your 2017 presidential run? In order words:
    1. How many votes did you garner?

    2. How many legislative seats did your party win?

    3. Did you have a campaign adviser? Lastly,

    4. Do you intend to vigorously mount another campaign for the presidency in the future?

    Curiosity is my driving force.
    Thanks Sir.

    • F.Hney:
      Please state your credentials so I can get to knowing you better?
      That is the culture I come from.
      “Who are you and what do you know?”
      These are the questions Liberian are increasingly asking.
      Nobody will ever do anything better if they didn’t go to school for it.
      God bless us.

  4. This National Economic Dialogue must not be a talking shop. The net result of such forum should be practical solutions that improve the dire economic conditions of our citizens. The public is anxious. We want to see results in the next three months, six months, 12 months and so forth. In history as in governance, good intentions do not matter. There is no objective way to measure good intentions. Practical deeds and effective solutions are what matter the most.

  5. Here we go again. Weah is back singing his same old tone that he is unable to tackle the problems for which he was elected because he inherited them from Ellen’s administration.

    Let Weah tell the Liberian people which president in the world has ascended to power and instead of tackling the burning issues before him, he chose to abandon them for his predecessors to resolve.

    Tolbert, inherited Tubman’s problems; Doe, inherited Tolbert’s problems; the interim presidents, inherited each successive interim president’s problems; Taylor, inherited their problems, and Ellen inherited Taylor’s problems.

    Nevertheless, these individual leaders did what they had to do when the rubber met the road. Should Liberians keep putting their bet on a president who has become a lame duck because he feels that his predecessors did not leave him with a perfect world?

    I would like to know where Weah’s perfect world exists, and I would go there to live! He should stop insulting the intelligence of the Liberian people because they do not need to be continuously reminded that every president, who comes to power, is always faced with some of the past challenges, which might have emanated, from his/her predecessors. They know this elementary fact.

    However, the growing unrest that seem to embroil Weah comes from the fact that he lied to the people by promising them that he would tackle many of these challenges. But after he was elected, he began to put his “hidden agendas” at the forefront of national developments.

    When will this president man up, stop pounding on Ellen’s achievements, and do something? It is almost approaching his second year in office, and all he has to show for it, is a record that tells the world that corruption has in fact risen to a new height in Liberia.

    How absurd the president appears for constantly chiding Ellen’s performance but at the same time basking in her legacies. How glaring and contradicting this is.

  6. Please get to knowing me:

    1) I provided a platform during 2017. It is this engineering platform that (was) is very realistic for Liberia’s economy. You will see the mentioning of industries; which is the world I come.

    2) I am currently working on one of the most important items; which is rice production. I do not do Agriculture.
    I have already made lots of advances on the machines that will be needed to maximize rice production.

    3) You may also call me:

    Mator, Yarkpajuwur Nahnbolor
    Sr Engineer and Geophysicist
    High-end Computer Engineering

    4) I was always an honor student from first grade in 1967 until 1982 at UL

    5) Always tell the children to their best; the light to evil. If they include Jesus, all will be set for life.

    6) I could put my platform on these forums if you like.

    7) Challenge me,
    put your credentials online including those of your Leaders. It is at least these educations/credentials the nation is looking for.

  7. Mr. Curran
    You know what? I am terribly disappointed in you. You failed to answer any of the questions I asked. As a former presidential candidate, I had hoped that you would define yourself professionally. But you didn’t. In politics, you do not allow yourself to be defined by your opponent or by members of the electorate. If you allow yourself to be defined, you immediately expose yourself as a clueless candidate.

    One of the most ridiculous things you did was to ask your readers or probably me to call you a set of names that could easily emasculate your significance. Do the names you want to be called add a flair to your personality?

    Mr. Curran, you claim to be involved in rice production. But yet at the same time, you claim not to do agriculture. How is that possible?

    C’on man. Be serious, will you?

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