Lest they forget, officials of this government need to be reminded that they hold the key to the end of the economic nightmare confronting the country. Promises and assurances made by the President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate that all will be well come February 2020 may vey well turn out to be a mirage given demands by the World Bank to have the GOL restitute what they call eligible funds and assets as reported in the December 6, 2019 edition of the Daily Observer under the headline “World Bank Slams Gov’t Over Financial Improprieties”.
According to the story, the Government of Liberia is accused of a host of improprieties in the management of funds intended to support projects in the country. Now the World Bank is demanding restitution of funds to the tune of USD$11,800.00. And implicit in the demand for restitution is the potential threat of sanctions hovering over this government, should it fail to restitute the funds.
Additionally, Finance Minister Samuel Tweh, who exercises control over such funds, ought to be reminded that the World Bank is a twin sister to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on which this government is counting to deliver the goods come February. In view of this situation, the Daily Observer is wont to question whether Senator Albert Chie actually intended to say that support from the IMF would be forthcoming only after the restitution of the funds which is expected to be made by February.
In other words, therefore, civil servants should expect tougher and leaner times in the months ahead. Now that it appears apparent that civil servants will not be paid for Christmas, the question is whether they will make good on their threat to stage a go-slow, should government fail to meet its obligation before Christmas.
It therefore behooves this government to take urgent remedial actions to address the situation in order to forestall potential civil unrest. The printing and introduction of new Liberian dollar currency banknotes as hinted by government officials is clearly not the solution. True, it might provide a sort of temporary relief in the short term; but in the long term, it will prove disastrous because it will send inflation spiraling through the roof to the point where one may need to have bundles of notes to buy a single loaf of bread.
These are indeed very worrisome concerns which this government must treat with urgency. To a large extent, extra budgetary expenses appear to be the main culprit, owing to the very strong penchant by officials at the highest level of government to indulge in extravagant and ostentatious display of wealth, with all such funds coming from the national treasury.
One thing which appears likely is that the planned December 30 protest will attract a large following as civil servants may turn out en masse to vent out their frustration for not being paid. However, given the potential threat of violence and given the experience of prolonged exposure to violence, civil servants could very well stay at home away from work rather than risk exposure to untoward developments.
This government would do itself well to recognize the exigency of the situation and act accordingly to bring relief to the suffering mass of Liberians.
Quick fixes will not cut it Sir!