The Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) has described the Annual Message delivered by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as a message of failure with nothing to benefit the Liberian people.
At a news conference Monday, February 3rd in Monrovia, MPC political leader Simeon Freeman provided what he called “critical analysis” of the President’s speech, dealing with all sectors of the nation.
He indicated that with Liberia’s vast resources little has been done for farmers thereby; “compelling them to be subsistence farmers.”
Sadly, Mr. Freeman continued; “While more than 70 percent of state’s resources are spent wastefully years on, the government shamefully intends to spend in the 2014/15 budget US$9.3 million in the rice sector. This is just 40 percent more than the US$5.6 million spent on protecting the President.”
Commenting on the mining sector, MPC declared that government’s continual interest in the sector shows her quest to exploit the system for personal benefit with little or no interest in developing the land used and building the capacity of the people.
“This also proves that the government does not account to its people,” MPC said.
MPC: “An accounting government will spend less on itself and more on the people. Every increase in revenue collection, which has shown an annual 26% increment over the last 8 years, have led to an increase in recurrent expenditure and not invested in the people. Madam Sirleaf spends US$18 million on foreign embassies and some US$58 million dollars on the security sector. Sources that create hope for our people are always greeted with lack of funding.
“There has also been no incentive for the private sector to invest in the Agricultural sector. Bills supporting the rubber sector were shelved. In many developed countries, huge incentives are availed to investors in the agricultural sector. Liberia still celebrates foreign investment at a presidential level over domestically enabled and supported investments that enabled and assured long term local capacity and competitiveness.”
On the forestry sector, Mr. Freeman maintained that the voluntary Partnership Agreement should be considered with caution.
“Liberia’s forestry sector can be a source of wealth creation for locals,” he furthered.
“A review of the European Union (EU) website indicates that timber producing nations are not compelled to join the EU driven VPA but once ratified, it becomes legally binding. We think the challenges in the forestry sector was enabled by appointment of loyalist to positions, a feature very prominent in this government, to naming persons with full capacity that do not emanate from the ruling party or circles.
“Government’s approach to the mining sector enables exploitation and poor dividend realization. A new bureau is being proposed though capacity limitation and lack of funding have been identified. We believe government equity in Mining concessions must be privatized. This eliminates the need to fund new concession monitoring bureaus and its associated capacity limitation challenge. The private company can be taxed with special tax provisions, guaranteeing revenue to government that funds important public sectors over funding non performing public institutions with little returns to the people of Liberia,” the MPC reply indicated.