Mr. Sylvester Moses, a frequent Social Media commentator in the Daily Observer newspaper a patriot and former National Security Agency (NSA) Director General, has advanced a number of very sound pieces of advice to President-Elect George Weah and his incoming administration.
In his piece, published in the Daily Observer yesterday, Mr. Moses suggested four urgent areas of concentration which the Weah administration should immediately embark upon for quick impact. The first is jobs, especially through vocational training.
This sound piece of advice is indeed doable, because there are already institutions which President Weah could engage to organize crash courses to attract the teeming numbers of our youth and young adults who are idling away their precious time and energies doing trivial trading on the streets of Monrovia and other parts of the country. These healthy, strong and enterprising young people are selling such trivialities as candy, towels, cotton buds and household items, just to survive, when they could be exposed to vocational and technical training that could earn them far more profitable incomes.
We have the Monrovia Vocational and Technical Center (MVTC), the Booker Washington Agricultural and Industrial Institute (BWI) and several Community Colleges in Grand Bassa, Nimba and other counties that could organize special accelerated courses that could richly benefit our youth and young adults and prepare them for self-employment and even full time employment.
We are sure that these institutions would willingly and affirmatively respond to requests by the Weah government to organize such training.
Mr. Moses’ second idea advanced is agriculture, geared especially for food production. This is a project that the Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with BWI and other institutions, could easily organize.
His third piece of advice is about education. His suggestion is that the administration should reenergize public school learning from preschool to 12th grade, with access to resources of functional libraries. It is a fact that there is no functional library in Liberia. The University of Liberia, Cuttington and a few other Universities have libraries, and we are sure that some of them can hardly meet the demands of their own students. And yes, there are hardly any decent bookstores. However, a way could be found to bring in texts from neighboring countries for this program.
The issue of roads, including farm-to-market roads, is Mr. Moses’ fourth suggestion. These roads would definitely help reduce poverty because they would empower farmers to get their produce more easily to the market. The lack of good roads available to our farmers is one of the grave problems facing our farmers. Many times they get stuck on muddy and impassable roads, where their produce spoil before they can be sold. This is a sure way of further impoverishing our farmers.
The Ministry of Public Works should be mandated to organize an effective way of addressing this problem.
All of these measures, designed to fight poverty in a quick and decisive way, cost money. How should a new administration, inheriting a very broke government, find the money to undertake these urgent projects?
Mr. Moses has advanced some answers for this. He urges the government to avoid at all cost running to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union for money to fund these programs.
Instead, Moses suggests some quick fundraising measures that are within the power of the government to take.
The government should: a) cut wasteful spending in the annual budget through wage stabilization for top government and state enterprise officials; b) attack and eliminate graft and corruption in income-generating institutions, so that tax revenues would not go into the pockets of individuals; rather, be applied to the urgent tasks at hand; c) government should know how much the nation is getting from extractive industries such as gold, diamonds, iron ore, etc., which make foreigners and few officials instant multimillionaires; and d) let the General Auditing Commission (GAC), Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), the Public Procurement Performance Commission (PPCC) and the Criminal Justice System — the Justice Ministry, Liberia National Police (LNP), the Liberian Immigration Service (LIS), etc., do the job of investigating and prosecuting without fear or favor; and e) government should not go crediting more luxury cars for new appointees.
We believe that these few pieces of advice from Sylvester Moses, if adopted by the Weah administration, would go a very long way in helping the government to minimize corruption. The government would then have enough resources to fight poverty in Liberia, to the great benefit of the Liberian people.
The question is, will President Weah be able to find the officials who are credible, honest and patriotic enough to carry out these great and doable pieces of advice?
We hope and pray that he can — and he will.