September 4, 2019 (as delivered)
Hon. Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives;
Hon. President Pro-Tempore and Members of the Senate;
His Honor the Chief Justice, Associate Justices, and Members of the
The Dean and Members of the Cabinet;
The Doyen and Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Bishops, Prelates, and Members of the Clergy;
Chiefs and Traditional Leaders;
Political and Business Leaders;
Officials of Government;
The Chairman and Members of the Independent National Dialogue Secretariat;
The Leadership and Representatives of our Support Partners for the National
Economic Dialogue, namely: the UNDP, USAID, the European Union, and ECOWAS;
Distinguished Panelist and Moderators;
Members of the Fourth Estate;
My Fellow Citizens;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am delighted to be here this morning at the Opening Ceremonies of the first Liberia Economic Dialogue Conference.
This Conference is organized and convened as an important initiative of my Administration, in order to stimulate a broad-based conversation among all stakeholders within the Liberian economy, concerning the best and most feasible way forward to sustainable growth and development.
You may recall that, in my first Annual Message which was given one week after I assumed the Presidency in January last year, I informed the Nation that the state of the economy that my administration had inherited left a lot to be desired.
There were structural challenges which would require major adjustments if they were not to continue to have a negative impact on macro-economic stability. There were also issues of liquidity, and a persistent decline in the value of our currency, compounded by reducing inflows of foreign exchange and investments, all of which placed upward pressure on inflation.
In the eighteen months since my incumbency, we have exercised our best efforts as a Government to address these issues. Yet, many of them persist, and continue to present challenges.
I am not an economist, and will never pretend to be one. Yet, the mantle of leadership that has been placed upon me, gives me direct responsibility to find lasting solutions to repair our broken economy, and make life better for our people.
You will recall that, in an Address which I gave to the Nation in May this year, I said that we Liberians should work together in our attempts to tackle our toughest problems, and seek to make the choices that will lead to changes that have broad positive effects.
Again, in June this year, in another address to the Nation, I said that my Government does not have a monopoly on ideas, and I acknowledged that it will take the collective effort of all Liberians to achieve the desired objective of reviving the economy, and placing the country on a path of sustainable development and transformation.
I therefore urged all Liberians to work with our Administration to devise and support new measures which could successfully address the structural defects and imbalances in our economy.
And I then called for discussions and dialogue on the way forward for economic revival in Liberia. This is the genesis of this National Economic Dialogue Conference.
Given our deep concern for the current state of the Liberian economy, and our appreciation of the urgent need to take corrective action in the short, medium and long terms, we established an Independent National Dialogue Secretariat. We gave them the mandate to create this consultative forum, where the best and the brightest minds, both Liberian and international, can be made to focus on analysis and diagnosis of our economic problems, and develop prescriptions, policies, and programs that should take our economy forward and upward to growth and prosperity for all.
We are highly impressed by the caliber of the various panelists, both Liberian and foreign, and the depth and range of their experience and knowledge in their respective fields, all of which it is expected that they will bring to bear in searching for lasting solutions to our economic problems. On behalf of the People of Liberia, and in my own name, I want to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to each and every one of you for taking the time to assist our country with your expertise.
We are also very grateful for the support and assistance of our international and development partners in making this event a reality.
DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
As you are aware, the theme of the Dialogue is ‘NATIONAL ECONOMIC REVIVAL AND GROWTH: CRITICAL ISSUES, CHALLENGES, AND A WAY FORWARD. I am convinced that your findings and recommendations will support and enhance the the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.
Let me assure you, as President, that my Administration will take your recommendations under serious advisement, and, where and when necessary, will back them with the political will required for successful implementation.
I now hereby declare this National Economic Dialogue Conference open for business!!!
I wish you success in all your deliberations, and look forward to receiving your views, your conclusions, and your recommendations at the end of this Conference.