-Opposition Parties Claim
Opposition political parties, including Alternative National Congress (ANC), Liberty Party (LP), All Liberian Party (ALP) and the former ruling Unity Party (UP) have said that the Liberian economy is bleeding profusely in the hands of President George M. Weah and his lieutenants.
At a news conference immediately following the President’s annual address to the National Legislature on Monday, January 28 at Liberty Party headquarters in Congo Town, Unity Party chairman Wilmot Paye said the President’s message portrayed Liberia as a country whose economy is already in free fall, as being “better.”
“President Weah just did not care about how many of you sleep hungry, how many Liberians are barely surviving, and how grim the prospects are for this economy to recover in the foreseeable future,” Chairman Paye said.
“The president and his officials have destroyed whatever was left of the economy after the Ebola crisis. Yet, while you waited to hear some meaningful policy prescriptions for resuscitating the bleeding economy, the President said nothing substantive to rekindle our hopes, reassure businesses, ensure investor’s confidence, and once more regain the respect of Liberia’s bilateral and multilateral partners. This is what a serious leader would do in difficult times,” chairman Paye said.
According to Mr. Paye, with this attitude, it is easy to predict that the Liberian economy will deteriorate further and this is worrisome because the country needs an immediate remedy.
“The administration does not seem to have the slightest idea of what to do in order to alleviate the suffering and hardships they have imposed on you within one year, which will only continue to intensify. The president’s message to the nation was a waste of time because it failed to even hint at any concrete solution,” Chairman Paye observed.
The Liberian economy is declining exponentially and it is time to act, he said. “Otherwise, Liberia could be doomed forever. Today’s message has heightened fears and dampened whatever hope that was left as you waited to hear any practical policy prescriptions on how to revamp the economy, return to good governance and avert further financial disasters that still lie ahead. We must act with some urgency to prevent the situation from degenerating into a humanitarian catastrophe. This has validated previous doubts about his capacity to handle the affairs of the state. We do not think you should continue to take him seriously at all. The president failed to assuage Liberians,” Chairman Paye said.
According to him, the president and his cronies are celebrating while businesses are closing down, food prices are soaring and the prospects of jobs for young people graduating from colleges and universities grow dimmer, gloomier and grimmer.
“Also, we have learned from very credible sources within the administration that Humming Bird is about to be awarded a Mineral Development Agreement (MDA). We are aware that the deal being proposed for this MDA will be injurious to the Liberian interest. In the wake of recent fraudulent loan deals that we are urging both the Executive and Legislative Branches to cancel as it makes no economic sense for the Legislature to entertain such a deal,” Chairman Paye said.
He further said plans by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to seek authorization from the Legislature for the printing of additional Liberian banknotes amid the unresolved controversies surrounding the mysterious disappearance of about L$16 billion will be counterproductive and will only worsen an already difficult monetary situation.
Paye added “We urge the Legislature not to grant this authorization for reasons they already know.”
“Is the president not ashamed that the economy is in tatters and that it will decline further? Is he unaware that businesses are closing down? That Liberians are being thrown out of business to make way for the president, his cronies and handful of foreign partners? Haven’t the government ministries and agencies become idle because this administration is characterized by gross incompetence? Did he say anything about this in his message (i.e. mess+age),” Chairman Paye asked?