Min. Tweah Exchanges Thoughts with New UNDP Boss

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Minister Tweah (first from left), Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to Liberia, Stephen Rodriques.

— Commitment to Impactful Interventions 

The Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah Jr., has held a meeting with Mr. Stephen Rodriques, the new Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to Liberia, with focus on strengthening the partnership between the UNDP and the Liberian Government.

Minister Tweah in a release from the MFDP said that the Government of Liberia remains committed to working with the UNDP and other development partners to deliver impactful development results under the George Weah administration.

Minister Tweah, who also told the new UNDP Chief that the Weah led administration inherited a difficult economy, further added that the current government has initiated reforms to stabilize the country’s economy. The George Weah Administration while taking office in 2018 promised hope to the Liberian people with the President stating in his inaugural address that his government will be people centered and will correct wrongs that have overwhelmed the Liberian society.

One of CDC lawmakers, District #8 Representative Acarous Gray, has always said blamed the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration as creating “Mess” and that the CDC-led was here to clean the mess. However, since the George Weah Administration took over the mantle of authority three years ago, its officials including Minister Tweah have blamed the past administration for the tough economic hardships Liberians continue to encounter.

While the President in his inaugural address promised that “We will fight corruption and make sure to end it,” his administration had over the years seen huge corruption scandals; the unaccounted US$25 million, the missing of LD$16 billion, the printed LD$4 billion yet to be accounted for, and surreptitious entry into non-governmental institutions’ accounts to withdraw money being some instances that have derailed public trust in the administration.

The performance of the government over the three-year period came to be evaluated by the voters in the gone December 8 senatorial election wherein scores candidates of the ruling party lost to the opposition.

For his part, UNDP’s Resident Rep. Rodriques has assured the government of accelerated interventions which he believes will impact the country.

Mr. Rodriques, who replaces Pa Lamin, also outlined his vision for Liberia. He said that he will focus on large scale development projects that will yield tangibles for Liberians.  He thanked his predecessor Pa. Lamin, for the level of the partnership forged during his tenure in Liberia.

Pa Lamin Beyai was appointed Resident Representative for UNDP Liberia as part of the de-linking process in 2019. However, the United Nations Resident Coordinator remains the Head of the entire UN System in Liberia, according to the UN in Liberia.

Rodriques further said that he will focus on supporting the Emergency Community Development Programme (PUDC) to promote and ensure accountable and participatory delivery of services to the far-to-reach segment of the Liberian population.

This will be achieved through livelihood activities to benefit the ordinary people in terms of access to finance for business development, and job creation projects, including supporting agriculture, youth and women development, as well as the decentralization programs of the country which focus on strengthening the County Service Centers to be successful, and economic dialogues to promote the Government’s efforts to boost savings and domestic revenues. 

Rodriques expressed optimism over the economic development and social welfare of the Liberian people as a result of the impactful level of engagement between the UNDP and the Government of Liberia.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. The Liberian government and representatives of Liberia-UNDP should review and adjust its activities such as the different contracts awarded to International nongovernmental organizations and its salary arrangement at UNDP. The writer of this article questioned some the issues that the Liberian government and UNDP should consider. Please read the full article carried by (www.theperspective.org) and (www.frontpageafricaonline.com).

    The writer stated “How did the idea to reduce poverty, etc. by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) change onto profit-making (i.e., the idea to invest $4.7B of donors’ money into investment portfolios)? (See page # 159 of UNDP 2017 Financial Statements). Or why did UNDP pay $5M to 13 officers and pay generous salary and benefits to 600 employees, but then hired third parties to perform its key Program, the $4.3B Development Program? (See Page 149). More so, why did UNDP allocate a significant portion of the program ($2.0B) to individuals, but allocated a minuscule amount to companies? (See page # 153).

    Were these professional individuals or connected consultants? Did governments have a say in hiring consultants? Were some of these contractors urban landlords who usually inflate costs of housing leased to consultants? Sadly, why does the United Nations add 65% of the based salary to the original salary, resulting in excessive salary?

    Let us look at an example: Personnel salary: Based Salary- $64,000 Plus (Post Adjustment $64,000 X 65% =$42,000)
    Total salary: $106,048- (Based salary $64,000 plus Post Adjustment $42,000). Fast forward to the idea of UNDP using donors’ funds to make profits. Is it prudent for UNDP to invest donors’ $4B in firms on Wall Street (i.e., the gambling industry) when healthcare centers lack medicine, equipment, materials, etc., schooled-aged children are not in school, income inequality is increasing, etc.? Certainly, it is a good idea, even for religious institutions, to invest idle cash and generate income. However, UNDP should not invest donations at the expense of fighting poverty, education, etc.

    Was it possible for UNDP to make a profit and at the same time fulfill its mission? I think so. In fact, the issue is not about investing donors’ $4B into risky portfolios. Rather, has UNDP failed its 1965 mission, to reduce poverty, increase stability, and promote prosperity, is the real issue? Or has it joined the World Bank that collected $1.7 trillion income from lending money from poor countries and/or has joined other institutions that pay excessive salaries as shown below?”

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