One of Liberia’s foremost businessmen, and a former business analyst at the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, Darlington B. Fineboy, says inexpensive yet durable housing units for impoverished slum dwellers could be one of the keys to sustainable poverty reduction in Liberia.
The 68-year-old Liberian businessman made the assertion recently in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer.
He expressed regret that slum dwellers continue to live in abject poverty because of the neglect of successive Liberian Governments.
Mr. Fineboy stressed that a practical and result oriented approach to the housing needs of slum dwellers is critical to addressing the poverty being endured by Liberians.
He also pointed out that the current Unity Party led administration must draw a blue print that would address the housing challenges of the nation.
Mr. Fineboy further urged stakeholders in the housing sector to graduate from sugarcoated promises and get involved in designing realistic housing programs for the country.
“I have listened to many pronouncements and policy statements about the housing sector, but the translation of these ideas into concrete programs are not forthcoming,” Mr. Fineboy observed.
He recalled that the late President William R. Tolbert had the political will to implement some radical housing policies for slum dwellers and other Liberians.
Sadly, Mr. Fineboy lamented, Tolbert was killed in a military coup, and his housing programs have been swept under the carpet by successive Liberian Governments.
“I advise the current administration to wake up and help make the dreams and aspirations of the late President Tolbert a reality,” Mr. Fineboy stressed.
He also expressed concern over the current wave of youth unemployment, a major factor that contributes to the population of the slums.
Mr. Fineboy called on the Liberian Government and stakeholders in the business sector to decentralize economic activities from within Monrovia and spread them across the country.
“We cannot afford to go through another civil crisis,” Mr. Fineboy stated, “therefore swift steps should be taken to address the menace of poverty, not just in the capital, but throughout the 15 counties as well,” he emphasized.
In closing, Mr. Fineboy expressed fears that if urgent steps are not taken to address the economic hardships being faced by citizens, he foresees chaos generated by resentment from the masses spreading throughout the country.