Liberia: Intermittent Earning Place for Officials?

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From all indications President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has now conspicuously laid bare the reason contributing to the backwardness and underdeveloped state of Liberia and its underprivileged masses.

Delivering her State of the Nation Address to the national Legislature yesterday, the President noted that the country and its people are in such a deplorable state as a result of Liberia being used as a transit point by past and present leaders of the country.

If Liberia is to overcome this intentional neglect by people who call themselves sons and daughters of the land, who prefer to use the country as an office and take their earnings to the United States and other developed Western countries with no tangible development in Liberia, then officials must learn to make Liberia their home rather than what she called “an Intermittent earning place” as has been the status quo ever since.

She noted that development has eluded the country since independence because officials prefer to take the country’s money on voyages and merrymaking in the West.  If development is to come to Liberia, she said, officials of government should learn to give back to the country through development, resources taken from it.

“The building of Liberia will rest solely and surely on our shoulders, the shoulders of all Liberians. We will carry this load only if we are prepared to make Liberia our home rather than our intermittent earning place, only if we give back to our country’s development, the resources taken from it,” President Sirleaf declared.

I firmly believe that God will give us the strength and courage to walk boldly into the next few years with a renewed spirit of peace, reconciliation, and commitment to country.

President Sirleaf, who has never been short of words to encourage her compatriots, even when things appear to be out of grip, called for a renewal of commitment and love for country.

The President, since 2006, she has always dished up words of inspiration depicting hope for the future, and this year’s address was no exception.

Though she may bear the greatest responsibility, President Sirleaf  nevertheless made a clarion call to the other two branches of government, the Legislature and Judiciary, saying that when the government fails it means all of them have failed.

She noted that it is now time for officials of government to re-examine themselves to see whether they are properly executing the mandate given them by the Liberian people and if they are working in the people’s interest.

“The pain inflicted on our national pride by the Ebola crisis provides an opportunity to search our souls, to ask ourselves if we have been truthful and honest to the commitments made in 2006 when we embarked on this journey together, to ask ourselves if we have served our country and our people well.”

If never in the past, President Sirleaf noted, this is the time for us to unite as one government to deliver the promises to our people. There is absolutely no room for blame shifting, she said.

The support in security protection and finance which we enjoy from our partners today, will not last as attention moves away from us to other international priorities, the President warned.

Honourable members of the Legislature, a nation bound together in 2006 vowed to walk away from the destruction and the hurt of the past; vowed to be committed and determined to ensure a future of peace and prosperity for all Liberians, she reminded her audience.

There was not very much then to share or to divert, as we were building from ground zero. In five years we stood together, lifting our nation from the burdens of debt and decay.

We worked together to increase revenues, to restore basic services, to remove the heavy debt burden, to mobilize foreign investment, to rebuild the infrastructure, to restore hope.

The world marvelled at our tenacity, resilience and determination and reached out massively to help us. Partners committed resources far beyond our domestic effort and our absorptive capacity.

Speaking in the Joint Chamber of the Legislature, President Sirleaf recalled her government’s appreciation for the cooperation received from the Legislature that led to the passage of several pieces of legislations relevant to the consolidation of the processes of the nation’s Agenda for Transformation and the National Vision 2030 which she said began several years ago to chart a course for Liberia’s growth and sustained development.

 “An examination of the various legislations revealed that they address the challenges of governance, the economy, the rule of law, and our obligations as a responsible member of the international community.”

President Sirleaf then highlighted those instruments which she claimed will significantly impact governance, economic transformation, the rule of law and the country’s international obligations.

She asserted that a sound, firm and attainable economic policy aimed at Liberia’s economic transformation, demands structural reform of the country’s form of governance.

“In this light, in addition to the passage of the Budget Act of 2014/2015 I am pleased for your ratification of the financing agreement between the Government of the Republic of Liberia, and Export/Import Bank of India, the Kuwait Fund, the African Development Bank, the African Development Fund, and the International Development Association of the World Bank.”

President Sirleaf further asserted that the economic transformation of Liberia is not limited only to the public sector, but includes the private sector as well. “In a bid to strengthen and expand the capacity of our private sector to contribute to Liberia’s economic transformation, we submitted to your honorable body, an amendment to the Mineral Development Agreement among the government of Liberia and Sense Gua Limited and Bloemfontein Limited; and the bill to ratify a concession agreement between government and the Liberia Cocoa Corporation, a wholly owned Liberian investment.”

 She said the instruments manifest government’s commitment to generate economic and employment opportunities in key corridors of the country.

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