Tweah Speaks of New Measures to Stabilize Liberia’s Economy

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Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), says the government will begin implementing new measures to help stabilize the country’s economy and sustain the peace, a release has said.

Providing updates on the general economic and social developments to the United Nations Peace-building Commission, Minister Tweah said that the “cabinet has approved a battery of measures to stabilize the microeconomic side, and was working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a program to transform and restore confidence in the fiscal and monetary spaces.”

Minister Tweah, who addressed the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission Meeting on Liberia in New York via Video Teleconferencing (VTC) from Monrovia, said the measures will include the passage of a credible and realistic budget that reflects the government’s true revenue potential; a strong wage reform–beginning with salary harmonization; and enforcement of a more effective cash management.

He  told the Peacebuilding Commission that the government has a very high wage bill–currently spending around US$330 million annually on salaries, leaving little resources to adequately invest in crucial sectors; hence, the need to ensure a salary harmonization exercise, a process that could not be achieved for the past nine years.

In addition to the new measures, Minister Tweah further said that the government will work towards widening the remittance stage to help stabilize the United States Dollars-Liberian Dollars exchange rate. Under the new measure, remittances sent to Liberia through MoneyGram, Western Union, and others, will be paid out in Liberian Dollars.

According to the release, Minister Tweah pointed out that while these measures would lead to short and long term returns, it would not outrightly revive the economy without increased investments, and mentioned that the government was working to create an enabling environment where investments could flow.

He said that bad roads and high cost of  electricity remain key challenges in reducing the cost of doing business, and said that the government is working with stakeholders to ensure that Liberia imports by April 2020, cheaper electricity from the Ivory Coast at a rate of 14 or 15 cents per kilowatts hour.

On the implementation of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), Minister Tweah said President George Weah road agenda is on course.

He emphasized that community roads are being built across the country through the Infrastructure Trust Fund, while the government continues mobilization of financing for the construction of the coastal highway.

Minister Tweah also spoke of great gains in education, health, social protection and youth employment, but said a lot more was needed to address the remaining challenges.

On the political front, Minister Tweah said the government’s vision is to sustain peace through equity and economic development for all Liberians, and urged the Peacebuilding Commission to focus on issues that drive conflict and instability, and have the potential to drive away investors. He stressed that the recent protest is evidence that issues of facts, dialogue, governance, and accountability need to be given more attention in Liberia.

The president and the government and the people of Liberia thank the Chair of the Liberia Peacebuilding Commission, Ambassador Olof Skoog for convening this meeting.

Also addressing the meeting via Video Teleconferencing (VTC), the Minister of Foreign Affairs Gbehzongar Milton Findley, expressed immense gratitude to the United Nations and all our partners for their continued commitment and support to the sustenance of peace, democracy and development in Liberia.

Minister Findley said that the government is committed to the promotion of peace, security and the rule of law, as principal objectives of its foreign policy, evidenced by its handling of the June 7 protest in Liberia.

He assured the International Community that Liberia would remain actively engaged with the Peace-building Commission in its support to lasting peace and democracy in Liberia.

The Chair of the Liberia Configuration of the Peace-building Commission, Ambassador Olof Skoog, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations said the Commission is encouraged by President Weah’s strong commitment to cooperate with the international community to revive Liberia’s economy and sustain the peace.

Ambassador Skoog, who acknowledged the strong connection between a viable economy and sustenance of peace, underscored the importance of international community coming together to support economic revival process in Liberia, and ensure that Liberians feel the benefits of peace.

Skoog said the Peacebuilding Commission was committed to accompanying Liberia through its peacebuilding process, and underscored the need to consolidate the progress and ensure the reversibility of peace dividends, especially Liberia’s exemplary transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding, which is being hailed internationally.

He stressed the importance of inclusiveness in upholding democratic principles, national dialogue, unity, and respect for the rule of law.

On the recent June 7 protest, Amb. Skoog and other members of the Commission, commended the Liberian government and all stakeholders for ensuring a peaceful process. They also welcomed President Weah’s call for a round table discussion on the way forward for the Liberian economy.

United States Ambassador to Liberia,  Ms. Christine Elder, the Special Representative and Head of the African Union Liaison Office in Liberia, Ibrahim Mbaba Kamara, and the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, all praised the essential role played by President Weah and his Government, and pledged to continue to cooperate with the government in its development drive.

Representatives of Norway, Canada, and the European Union at the United Nations, also hailed the essential role played by President Weah and his Government in ensuring the peaceful conduct of the June 7 protest.

The Peacebuilding Commission Meeting on Liberia was proposed by Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., Permanent Representative of Liberia to the United Nations to take stock of economic, political and social developments in the country within the framework of the PADP, and consider the Liberian Government’s response to the June 7 protest.

24 COMMENTS

  1. Isn’t the government’s “New Measure to Stabilize Liberia’s Economy” another extortion scheme? According to Minister Tweah, “under the new measure, remittances sent to Liberia through MoneyGram, Western Union, and others, will be paid out in Liberian Dollars”… Hmmm?

    In other words, if you send U.S Dollars, through Western Union, to help your poor family back home, the government will FORCE them to receive ALL of that money in worthless Liberian Dollars!

    Hey Minister Tweah, why are you FORCING my poor relatives to take your worthless money??

    Look. This is the same as someone putting gun to your head and taking your good money (U.S. Dollars), and giving you their play-play money (Liberian Dollar) in return.

    Don’t you think that’s extortion? I do. Using government’s police power to extort poor Liberian citizens of their hard foreign currency is a despicable criminal act. Minister Tweah should be arrested for attempted extortion in the first degree!! Damn rogue.

    • Martin – Guess what? I strongly believe most Liberians will stop sending money back home, period. This policy is a ploy to get their corrupt hands on more US dollars to fatten the bank accounts. It doesn’t make sense at all. This policy will fail.

      • President, Dr. G.M.Weah have an obligation; to explain to the Liberian People, why he believes some staffers who are apparently incompetent, right for senior positions in his administration. Specific request was made by the Organizers of COP/Save The State. When will President, Dr. G. M.Weah respond. We expect President Weah to live up to his words: “Let’s have a round table dialogue”.

  2. A wise person once said, “When you give a person too much power, they become intoxicated with power which eventually leads to self-destruction.”

    My critical analysis tells me that President Weah’s poor management skill, his poor communication skill, and his lack of knowledge in dealing with complicated national and global issues have led to him delegating most of his governing responsibilities to some of his staunch CDC lieutenants like Nathaniel McGill, Samuel Tweah, and Jefferson Koijee.

    These wrongly placed individuals, who are poorly managing their current positions, have become too intoxicated with power to the extent that they do not fully comprehend the complexities, magnitudes, and intricacies of managing a depressed economy and a fragile country like Liberia.

    If this new Government really plans to succeed, then, it urgently needs to do something serious in restructuring its government: by putting in the right people with the right skills, knowledge and experience in the right positions. Minister Tweah needs to go to the Tax Revenue to collect more taxes. Bring in a well-seasoned global economist or someone seasoned in International Finance to be the Minister of Finance like the former Finance Minister, Dr. Antoinette Sayeh with international finance experience.

    Minister Tweah is a bombastic talker and his lack of international financial managerial experience for such a sophisticated Finance Minister Job is showing. Look how poorly he is managing Liberia’s sinking economy since he took over!

    The underdeveloped city of Monrovia with it’s over population is just too complicated to ask an inexperience guy like Koijee with no administrative and managerial experience to serve as Major of Monrovia. He is completely loss.

    As for Nathaniel McGill, I really don’t know his qualification and what advisory role he is giving the President. It seems many decisions the President is making has put the country deeper into a downward spiral.

    I admire the smartness and intellect of President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana. I was in Barbados on a business trip when the President of Ghana visited. He introduced his Ghana “2019 Year of Return” welcoming people “African Descent” living in Diaspora to return to Africa.

    This smart business opportunity (propaganda) policy encourages many blacks from the Diaspora to settle in Ghana. This policy offers visa free incentives and friendly business climate to do business/live in Ghana ….thus leading to speedy development in Ghana. On the contrary, Liberia is still becoming too difficult to do business in…..due to many economic, social and political barriers.

    If a country like Liberia is not producing anything of value (minerals, cash crops, higher education, entertainment, financial center, quality health care, human capital, manufacturing, technology, tourism, good transportation, logistics, innovation, etc.) to sustain economic growth, coupled with 2/3 of Liberia’s meager budget going to less than 1% of the population (mostly government employees); then, how does Minister Tweah expect Liberia to develop without money?

    There is computer science slogan that goes like this “GABBAGE IN GABBAGE OUT” or simply “GIGO”: whatever you put in, is whatever you’ll get out. If something drastic isn’t done quickly to stimulate Liberia’s poor economy, I bet, the patience of poor Liberians won’t last too long. Everyone has to eat: even the poor …Minister Tweah!!

    I’m retired and hate to see Liberia, once a beautiful and prosperous country I left more than forty years ago, go down the drain again.

    May God bless my poor brothers and sisters in Liberia! “Keep hope alive!”

  3. Remittances send via western union and money gram should be pay out using the local currency. Funds that are taken out of his atm also need to be payout in Liberian dollar. If you want. Also ensure all business accept Liberian dollars. It is done that way in the rest of the world. With that said, the exchange rate should match the true market rate and not some made up bs. So far if this is all you have to far to fix the economy and nothing to address misapplication/corruption, y’all not ready. For a small country with little money/ lack of original thought, the wage bill is still too high. I have yet to hear about executive, legislatures, judiciary takinb a significant pay cut and reducing staff. We have too many people drawing government pay checks. Reduce the burdens on businesses so that they can past on the cost savings. Work on developing our electricity and other ports of entry. If you don’t have the capacity to fully analyze the proposal published the proposal so people with the capacity can point out the pros and cons of the deals you are been offer meanly the single source deals. In fact publish all deals cause our recent history tells us, even those with degree lack the ability to analyze proposals or are too criminal minded. I choose to believe it is lack of capacity.

    • Hey Eaddy, if the government forces you take “Remittances send via western union and money…in local currency (Liberian Dollar)”, shouldn’t they be forced to take local currency when you are paying for your Liberian visa or passport??? FYI: They refused to take Liberian Dollars for payment of my daughter’s visa to Liberia. Also, not all businesses in the U.S. A accept U.S Dollars. Some accept bitcoins!!

    • The local Liberian currency is the USD.
      Who changed the currency to LD? Maybe LD was introduced hoping to expand the economy which is not working.
      Liberian should gather in thousands rejecting such suggestions.

      So the plan is to take control of people in the Diaspora?

  4. LIBERIANS living in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, do not send one US cent to this SHAMELESS GOVERNMENT. This government denies Liberians in the US dual citizenship, but wants only our money to continue paying their government officials in US Dollars and our people get the useless Liberian Dollars. Involve us as we are also birth right citizens. Simiar to what other countries do, as Liberians we can save and build the economy of our country. If not, we will find other means and ways to send our money to our family members and friends period.

  5. They need to pay all salaries to government workers/official up to the presidency in Liberian dollars. That is almost 300 million US dollars.

  6. All our remittances will be paid in Liberian dollars? This is the cheapest policy decision ever. But this will severely affect the economy because most Liberians will stop sending money home. We will find other means of sending money to your relatives. (PERIOD).

  7. I want to ask few questions. When the first 5 Billion Liberian Dollars came and received under the Sirleaf-Johnson-Led Government, how was it infused into the Liberian Economy? When the 10 Billion Liberian Dollars also arrived under the Weah-Led Government, how was it infused into the Liberian Economy? Were the banking institutions used? Do we have any evidence based track records on this?

  8. Lol. Remittance in most part of Africa are received in local currencies. In Ghana, no matter how much is sent to you via western union or money gram, you’ll recieve your money in cedis, the same in Nigeria whose currency is even underscored as compare to Liberian dollar. In fact Ghana do not allow you to send money via western union or money gram, you only receive. So what’s the noise?. If you like don’t send your family money in Liberia and see what becomes of them in the next one year.

      • That I know, they are not jumping off the bridge. They are even flying high with better economy while ours is in a free fall mode. This multiple currencies is not helping Liberia at all. It’s killing our Economy rapidly. It sad that people are not generational thinkers, they think for only they and their family.

    • Surgeons +231… is the government going to pay all government employees including George Weah and this band of thieves in LD and also mandate all businesses to accept LD..why make the people to receive only LD but you can’t pay government services in LD or buy things in most stores with LD? Can you reconcile the contradiction..

    • Surgeons +231…do the government in Ghana and Nigeria refuse to accept their local currencies for services or businesses in Ghana and Nigeria refuse to accept the local currencies….if no.. then your comparison is bogus…

  9. Well, when our people receive the US Dollars, they convert them to Liberia Dollars before buying goods. I stayed four months in Liberia and did just that. So what is the difference if the government does the conversion at the bank? Just make sure the exchange rate is consistent and equivalent. No worries!

  10. Good day fellow Liberians,
    The banes and confused state of our mother land, since 1847, called Liberia had found, is finding and unfortunately shall find itself in is due to principally nothing else, but the very, very poor methods used to creating this first Republic in Africa. There are though other factors, but I am very concerned about ‘lies, insincerity and snobbery’. One must learn and understand that, the freedom from slavery transformed those of very many different African groupings who returned to this part of Africa into “snobs”. If one wants to disagree for senseless argument sake, let him or her take a careful look at the Liberian Seal: “THE LOVE OF LIBERTY BROUGHT US HERE”. How do you expect one brought here by and for the love of his or her freedom to be “an EXTROVERT and a PATRIOT”? My analysis and connotation of the word, Liberia are in the following phrase: ‘lie be here’ or ‘lie and be here’. Indeed, that’s not the real issue! How do we save our native and ancestral land is the prime task and question to Liberians? The plenty talking or the ‘ blablas’ will never and ever be of help to this our only dwelling place and our very selves. We must have to democratically ‘act up’, either through a real and sincere ‘civil disobedience’ or by the means of the ‘ force of the ballots’. In this way, we can set precedents and also pave the way for the generations to come. Figures like Mr. Tweah and his likes who enjoy seeing the sufferings of Liberians could then be defeated.
    Besides, I’ve got to publically express my recent disappointment in Mr. Weah’s talks, in his words to the ECOWAS’ delegation before June 7 that, “he was willing to listen to any Liberian”. I came with a big plan and an investor, but their system couldn’t allow me to meet him and deliver my part of the contributions need to save mother Liberia. Though disappointed, but not discour-aged. I hope and wish to return home again soon, by the Will of the Almighty because these issues about Liberia are about Liberians’ fates or well-being; and I’m a bona fide Liberian! Plus, I am possessed with ways that are bound to boom the economy of Liberia and the betterment of all it’s inhabitants. //Gonyanue Blah

  11. Point of self-correction: I meant to write – ‘contributions needed’ and discouraged’ with-out hyphen!

  12. So the government of Liberia thinks that giving useless money to her citizens will improve the economy?
    If it comes to that, we will find other means to send money to our family and friends.

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