President George Weah has described Liberia’s appalling infrastructural deficit as a major historical failure.
Giving his nationwide address commemorating Liberia’s 174h Independence Anniversary, the Liberian Chief Executive reflected that one of the country’s recurring themes, which remained prominent and consistent throughout history, is its large infrastructural deficit.
He said Liberia cannot boast of being the first independent African nation when, up to today, “we lack the proper health, educational, governance and infrastructure systems befitting such a status”.
“That is why since our incumbency, my administration has endeavored to tackle roads and other basic infrastructure requirements so as to bring improvement to the lives of our people, as well as ensuring that there is adequate access to services,” the President said in a prerecorded national address on Monday, July 26, 2021.
He said in spite of many challenges, his government has rehabilitated thousands of kilometers of roads across the country, built hundreds of housing units, constructed and rehabilitated many schools, hospitals, and several market buildings.
President Weah said his government will continue its infrastructure development drive, in keeping with the Pro-Poor Agenda, “until we can begin to reduce the infrastructural deficit because the very existence of this deficit at this time in our national development trajectory can be regarded as a major historical failure.”
He continued: “In spite of the negative impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have ensured that the national development agenda is not derailed. With the firm and prudent fiscal and monetary policy measures we have instituted, inflation has returned to a single digit. There is also greater stability in the monetary sector and marginal GDP growth is projected.”
President Weah said he is strongly convinced that the country’s infrastructure, which he said became more visible to him during his recent county tour across the country, will remain undaunted unless strategic practical intervention is made.
He assured Liberians that his administration will continue its roads development program in keeping with the flagship Development Platform, the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, PAPD until the situation is improved.
President Weah asserted that it is because of such national embarrassment that his Administration has endeavored to tackle roads and other basic infrastructure requirements in order to bring improvement to the people and to ensure that there is adequate access to services.
He noted that in spite of many challenges, “we have rehabilitated thousands of kilometers of roads across the country, built hundreds of housing units, constructed and rehabilitated many schools, hospitals, and several market buildings.”
Japanese Freeway Dedicated
Meanwhile, President Weah has dedicated the recently constructed Japanese Freeway, formerly Somalia Drive, which Several years before its construction, had a record of being crammed and dilapidated.
However, the completion of the double-lane highway is a great relief that comes with the free movement of people and goods and a boost to the local economy for communities along the highway and beyond.
“This road represents the most wonderful gift to Liberia on the occasion marking its 174th Independence Day celebration," President Weah said in remarks, zooming in on “fruitful bilateral cooperation” existing between Liberia and Japan, particularly since the 2019 Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) at which time he and Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met and held talks.
“Therefore, let me use this opportunity to again reiterate Liberia’s commitment to development cooperation with Japan under the TICAD framework and through direct bilateral engagement,” the President stressed.
The President also used the occasion to admonish Liberians to make proper and judicious use of the new freeway.
“Before I take my seat, let me caution all would-be users and members of the communities along this road to help in its maintenance through proper use,” President Weah said, reminding Liberians, particularly those along the road, of the collective responsibility in the maintenance of the gift from Japan to Liberia as the surest way of demonstrating continuous appreciation to the Japanese government and its people.
He warned residents not to build makeshift market stalls on the road, throw garbage in the gutters, drainages and along the road.
“My fellow Liberians, let all of us do our part as responsible citizens,” he said.
President Weah described the completion of the road as a major milestone in his government’s development drive to improve our country’s infrastructure, noting that it represents one or more vital steps in confronting the infrastructure deficit the country faces.
He asserted: “As we gather here today to dedicate this crucial road linking important commercial corridors of Monrovia, we remain committed and steadfast in achieving the deliverables as set forth in the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).”
President Weah also thanked his predecessor, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, under whose administration the project was initiated.
According to the President, the government’s national development agenda is not derailed in spite of the negative impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
He disclosed that inflation has returned to single-digit due to firm and prudent fiscal and monetary policy measures the government instituted, adding that there is also greater stability in the monetary sector, while marginal GDP growth is projected.
He said this year’s Independence Anniversary theme, "Together, We Are Stronger: Fighting COVID 19 and Achieving Development, Peace, Human Rights, Justice, Health and Prosperity for All”, reflects the unique values and collective experience of Liberians as a resilient people who have prevailed through many adversities.