No doubt the Weah administration has been hugely criticized across traditional and social media for doing little or nothing. Unarguably, President George Weah’s government inherited an economy recovering from the scourge of Ebola and the steep decline in prices of essential export commodities including iron ore and rubber globally.
In spite of these, critics have largely held it against the government for its inability to take austerity measures and attract investors to jump start the economy.
But Contrary to what is filling the airwaves, Samora Wolokollie, Deputy Finance Minister for Fiscal Affairs, provided a laundry list of achievements by the government.
Wolokollie thinks the Weah administration is well on course in getting the economy back on its feet. He said the government is nearing completion of all the 14 projects earmarked during the first year of its ascendency; contrary to allegation that nothing has been achieved.
According to Mr. Wolokollie, the CDC-led Government has achieved in the payment of all private, and public school students’ WASSCE fees, the conduct of feasibility studies for the construction of the Military Hospital, the enrollment of teachers on GoL payroll, the harmonization of underpaid government employees, as well as the harmonization and roll-out of biometric identification process across government’s ministries and agencies.
Wolokollie named the installation of new street lights, the purchasing of additional health delivery services and equipment to upgrade the facility at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center and professional skills development towards the increase in the number of local experts at the JFK and doctors across the country.
He frowned at those who are “turning their eyes on the progress being made in the name of politics.” Wolokollie furthered said the training of personnel at the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), the launch of a humanitarian outreach program by the First Lady, resettlement package for residents’ properties within the Sanniquellie to Loguatuo road construction, and the government backed credit line to stimulate private sector development.
According him, most of these projects have been implemented and the government is on course to deliver all of its promises. He said the government has disbursed US$1.9 million for 33,979 students from 600 schools, including 489 private schools, and 111 private schools across the length and breadth of the country.
He furthered said the feasibility studies have been conducted and construction work on the 14th Military Hospital is currently ongoing and will cost US$2 million, while at the same time, dozens of unpaid teachers have been placed on salary.
“To today’s date, I can confirm to you that the total of 4,433 supplementary teachers have been placed on regular payroll to help improved service delivery in the educational sector. For harmonization of under paid employees, a total number of 180 underpaid teachers have been accorded their pay and benefits. The total money spent is US$150,000,” Wolokollie said.
Taking jabs at the past administration, he noted that the current government has employed many Liberians, who deserved to work without downsizing anyone; contrary to the past government who he claimed laid off many Liberians to accommodate others. He acknowledged that because of the strategy, government’s wage bill gas increased, but it does not have any negative effect on the economy as it is being perceived.
Wolokollie said: “When they were there, they fired people. We are not doing that. We keep them on. We are a government for all. When you bring in people who deserve to work, you increase disposable income and when disposable incomes are increased, domestic resource mobilization revenues are increased, taxes are increased and when a lot of people pay taxes, government generates more revenue and we will have an incremental effect in revenue generation.”
He noted that the bio-metric identification process is having a positive effect because it is used to track ghost names and the process is currently ongoing at various government ministries, including the ministries of Finance and Development Planning, and Health.
Wolokollie said the government has repaired 15 NTA buses that were down, and they are now commuting Liberians, including students at affordable cost.
In addition, he named the University of Liberia digitization project as one of the most successfully implemented projects, which the government is determined to improve services at the state-run university.