Senate Berates Economic Management Team for “Poor Report” on Economy

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The EMT comprises, among others (from left) Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Jr.; Commerce Minister Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh and Central Bank Governor Nathaniel Patray.

Over a dozen Senators on Tuesday, November 7, made public their strong disagreement over a three-page report from the Economic Management Team (EMT) on the state of the economy; the alleged missing L$16 billion and the status of the infusion of the supposed US$25 million into the economy to strengthen the depreciated Liberian dollar.

The angry lawmakers, including Senators Thomas Grupee, Matthew Jaye, Varney Sherman, Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence, Henrique Tokpa, J. Gbleh-bo Brown and Dan Morais, said the report lacked detailed explanations on the specifics on the economy, but instead it is filled with financial graphs which they cannot understand to interpret to their constituents who elected them.

In a soft-but-firm tone, Nimba County Senator Thomas Grupee rebuked the Chairman of the EMT, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah for speaking from his head and not from a prepared text, taking into consideration the severity of the matter.

Senators Brown, Jaye and Lawrence, said the “graphs are laughable, because the EMT did not take into account their professional backgrounds.”

Tough-talking Senator from Grand Cape Mount County, Varney Sherman, said the current state of the economy is too alarming for the Economic Management Team to be toying with.

“I have been here for the past four years and I don’t remember us having public hearing and anything good come out of it. Why? Because the people who come to talk to us give us generalities and no decision can be made by us. The status of this economy is very serious. We call our experts here – people who’re supposed to advise us – and they come and talk to us from the top of their heads… How can you expect me to understand the status of the economy on three pages,” Cllr. Sherman said.

Bong County Senator Henrique Tokpa said based upon his professional background he understands the graphs but  his other colleagues who are from different backgrounds need a simple explanation on the monetary and fiscal policy and the impact of the US$25 million infusion in the economy.

The lone female Senator in session, Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, described the three-page report as unprofessional, far below standard and does not fall within the best financial practice.

She asked that Senators Morris Saytumah and Jonathan Kaipay, whose arguments were in defense, be allowed to give a general perspective on the economy and through questions-and-answers, the Senators’ specific questions will be addressed.

However, Min. Tweah apologized for not making reference to the summary compiled by the team but said copies had been made available for members of the Senate.

The Economic Management Team comprises of the Central Bank Governor, Nathaniel Patray, Finance, and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah, Commerce Minister, Wilson Tarpeh and Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Thomas Doe Nah.

For a way forward, after berating the EMT, River Cess County Dallas Gweh proffered a motion for the EMT to be discharged in order to bring a detailed report on the economy, including the alleged missing L$16 billion, the state of the economy, the infusion of the US$25 million and the impact as well as which institutions benefited or how it was infused.

The motion, which was amended by Senators Morris Saytumah and Peter Coleman, also said about 33 copies of the report should be submitted to the Secretary of the Senate, latest on Friday, November 9 and then return on Tuesday, November 13 in the Senate Chamber, by 11 am.

The issue of EMT remaining under oath was disregarded by Senate President Pro Tempore Albert Chie.

8 COMMENTS

  1. While the irate senators may have a point relative to the inadequacy of the status report presented to them, at the same time each senator’s office supposed to have staffs with the requisite background/ability to interpret these kinds of submissions to the senate. But instead senators usually employ semi-literate people on their staff, thereby resulting into this kind of deficiency. So, yes, the report may be inadequate, but the senators have themselves to blame. Period!

    • Oh how true. A case of the blind leading (or following) the blind over here. It’s clear that in twelve wasted years Ellen Sirleaf and Amos Sawyer did absolutely nothing to establish a credible framework for good governance in Liberia. They just ate the money, drank their wine or beer or whiskey, and went away.

  2. It’s a shame on the EMT. They don’t think they lack the requisite experience to produce a detail comprehensive report to the honorable House. I guess they are afraid of many questions on the status of the economy. This is something that really needs attention.

  3. It seem like Minister Samuel D. Tweah read his causes outside down. we can not support you for this. where in the world government will take huge sum of monies to individuals to balance a country economy? with this your explanation, I want to believe that your ministry has full control over this country economy. As long you were able to use 15 million out of the 25 million with individual that got the rate dropping from 162 to 152, your actions being very bad.

  4. Your finished cooking yourselves in tomato cup, they dishing yall up with baboon stick then your one come make noise ? let ppl hear their ear mehn. useless legislature – doesn’t matter how many times you call them, they will talk down to you because u have no spine! Get the respect and honor you deserve by fearlessly doing your oversight duties.

  5. While I am not a supporter of EJS, she is no longer in office. Hence, President Weah was elected based on his promises to RIGHT THE WRONG”, yet, he has not taken a single step to change course. During the period of the election, Weah alleged that he was being discriminated against because he was a “Footballer” and since his ascendency to the presidency, his party, the CDC has elected to discriminate against all Liberians who are not a member of the CDC. The problem that we as Liberians will continue to face is the lack of good governance protocol. There are more qualified Liberians that could be appointed to positions of competence base solely on their professional backgrounds and experiences, unfortunately, this does not happen. Instead, people who are appointed to these positions have little, or no relevant qualifications for the jobs and are appointed only and only because of their personal relationships with those in power and as such, we will never, ever see any changes for forward movement that will positively affect the standard of living for the Liberian people. This is also the same with the Legislators. If one were to check the backgrounds of their employees, it will be very difficult to find people with relevant qualifications such as Economist, accountants, paralegal specialist and political scientist who would be in the position to advise them on issues as it relates to their qualifications and backgrounds.

  6. In Liberia, when you take responsibility for illegally printing LD10 Billion, what happens to you? Do you get a free ride just like the president got when she took responsibility for the collapse of NOCOL?

    Is this how our country is ever going to get built? Really?

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