Current and ongoing developments in the country suggest the need for critical engagement with this government to prevent the economic collapse that critics of this government suggest is imminent, given the continued depreciation of the Liberian dollar against the US dollar. The recently concluded National Economic Dialogue was considered a forward step in that direction but the implementation of its recommendations is apparently proving to be an uphill challenge.
The nation is beginning to see a wave of strike actions by public sector workers protesting against falling real income, which has since been exacerbated by the wage cuts imposed recently as part of measures to revive the economy. This newspaper is not unaware that IMF imposed austerity measures which mean cuts in social spending have often caused riots and strikes in other countries and there is no telling that such could not occur here.
This government has repeatedly assured the public that it is working to improve the lot of the Liberian people but mere declarations of good intent do not suffice for practical measures needed to turn things around. Government needs to present a clear action plan, time bound and around which Liberians could rally in efforts to stave off economic collapse. Such a plan, if produced, could be disseminated widely for public discussion and input, following which action can be taken along the lines recommended.
President Weah ought to be consistently reminded, as this newspaper always does, that he does not have the luxury of time to change things around. And to do this he needs all hands on deck. He should not pay heed to those who tell him that failures of this government are attributed to political enemies who, according to them, have infiltrated this government with the singular purpose of bringing it down.
The Daily Observer remains fully aware that the crisis currently engulfing the nation has it roots in the past government’s shortcomings. Although it was for example long since clear to the IMF that CBL was in crisis and that official transactions were not being properly documented, it turned a blind eye to alleged doctoring of reports. The resulting mess has been President Weah’s inheritance and indications suggest that his officials are even compounding the mess.
But it is he who bears ultimate responsibility. He probably may not have been fully aware of the extent to which things had gone bad, however such an excuse is not tenable given the fact that he served as senator for nearly three years. Was he not following developments given that he harbored and had been nursing presidential ambitions all the while he was in opposition?
This newspaper once again calls on President Weah to step forth and take charge of this nation just as he pledged to do at his inauguration into office. Things are unravelling fast and it appears we are like a flock of lost sheep with its Shepherd finding neither his footing nor his way. For the sake of the nation and the survival of its people, “all hands on deck” — opposition, no-position, ruling position — all will be required to ensure the nation stays afloat.