The Liberia National Students Unions (LINSU) has expressed its satisfaction and appreciation to Finance Minister Amara Konneh of assuring Liberians of making progress to improve the economy despite the challenges of continuous budget shortfall.
The president of LINSU, Varney A. Jarsey, said though the admittance of a declined economic by the Finance Minister is troubling, but they believe it is reflective of global and regional economics, which is associated with the decline in demand of worldwide commodity prices, exchange rate vitality and other external shocks.
The LINSU boss said consistent with research and confirmed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), there is a threat to sub-Saharan Africa because growth stability would be external to include exchange rate vitality, as seen in Ghana, Nigeria and other African countries and the falling prices of key commodities like iron ore and rubber, which Liberia largely depends on.
He made the remarks Thursday, May 15, at a press conference held at LINSU’s headquarters in Monrovia.
Mr. Jarsey said their statement was based on what they witnessed during the May 13th appearance of Finance Minister Konneh at the House of Representatives.
“In view of these developments, and our vested interest in resource mobilization and allocation through the budget, LINSU is constrained by moral imperatives and duty bound to comment on these developments, having witnessed the hearings, conducted its own research, made inquiries and reviewed relevant literatures, “ Mr. Jarsey said.
The LINSU boss stated that like in the case of Liberia’s declined economy, Ghanaian President John Mahama made a startling remark during the National Economic Forum in Ghana on May 13, 2014, coincidentally the same day the legislators invited honorable Konneh and his team were invited.
According to Mr. Jarsey, the Ghanaian President said: “We are in the midst of overcoming various challenges associated with this new national income status while at the same time striving to develop the institutions that would enable us grow and transform our economy at this time of great volatility and uncertainty in the global economy.”
He continues: “Three aspects of these challenges to which I’ve referred have remained particularly persistent over time. These are: the rising debt levels, as well as the associated burden of servicing them; the disproportionate amount of government revenue that goes into the payment of salaries and benefits of public sector workers and pensioners; and the resultant high budget deficits.”
The LINSU president told reporters that the student body holds the view that no one individual both on the fiscal and monetary side of the Liberian economy should be singlehandedly blamed for the current turbulence, therefore the legislature should not front for resignation of public official amidst the global economic problems, but should rather help clean the messy system.
“We as a national student movement worry more about the current state of Liberia’s educational system as prescribe by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as a ‘mess.’ LINSU believes the legislature must put more monies in the National budget to rescue Liberia from this academic menace or debacle,” Mr. Jarsey opined; adding: “as we all strides to build the human resource capacity of young Liberians.”
In the wake of tackling the budgetary shortfall, LINSU has urged the spending agencies to be committed to contribute to the budget and the Executive and Legislative Branches of government should refrain from “wasteful and unnecessary spending.”
“Once we continue to make ambitious overestimates, we are risking a shortfall. We need to use the 2013/2014 budget as a lesson and prepare a realistic and better spending plan in 2014/2015,” the LINSU boss said. “We cannot spend what we do not have!”
The national student body also urged members of the legislature to conduct state matters in ways that reflect a unity of purpose than reverting to the media to attack, criticize or make policy comments when said can be addressed on the floors of the legislature.