Beggars’ ‘Paradise’?

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The current political and economic situations in the country   have led many people to   describe Liberia as “beggars’ paradise’.  

“We have turned into beggars in our own country. The country is not normal. Why should we be beggars? Look at me, a well-trained graduate in Accounting. I am now a professional beggar. I have to ask friends to help me. This should not be the case,” Roland Kollie, in his black T-shirt said on Wednesday during the anti-rape protest on Capitol Hill.

He added, “This is unacceptable in this modern time.  See here today, people are demonstrating against rape, but there is hunger also. Right among us, there are many beggars here. We should not be looking at only those blind people who are begging on the streets.”

His statement was supported by   Marie T. Freeman, a business lady in Duala. She said: “Do not talk about that. I can say that the entire country is a beggar. We have to beg our international partners to get money; we have to move from one place to another. So, if your country is a big beggar, then, what do you expect the citizens to do?”

Their statements were also buttressed by Mr. Dan Sayeh, political leader of the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVE).

In an exclusive interview recently, he said, “Liberia is under stress politically. Political incentives that are necessary to keep the population energized and feel a part of the political community are running short. The population is unhappy.”

According to him, Liberia is in crisis. “Many Parents are unemployed in most cases. We have a real crisis in the country. You are in a country that is hopeless. The social incentives that need to keep you hopeful, you do not have them. We are in a troubling times and circumstances.”

He added, “The actors that are supposed to make sure that the appropriate circumstances are in place, seem not to be catching out. The necessary circumstances are not conducive for the Liberian people.”

Mr. Sayeh continued: “The political atmosphere has been charged for a couple of times. The population is unhappy, hunger is everywhere. The economy is shrinking by the day, unemployment is on the rise. Public disenchantment is there. The salaries are not coming on time. All these are all critical issues that have impact on the country.”

He therefore recommended that   the government should try to open up the economy, saying the country has not had the time to attract Foreign Direct investment.  

According to him, the revenue should be energized. He added “The government should support local businesses that will help to increase revenue.  Agriculture should be paid attention to do all we can to feel ourselves. Improve our investment climate.”

It can be recalled  that Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah told a gathering recently that any additional cuts in the salary of lawmakers will lead to heartache and disappointment to constituents who heavily rely on begging their lawmakers for money. 

Senator Abe Darius Dillon of Montserrado County, an opposition lawmaker recently submitted a bill seeking to set US$5,000 for a lawmaker as a gross salary.

The bill according to Senator Dillon will help the government reduce its massive wage bills-which stands at US$291.9 million in the draft budget for FY2020/20201, which is US$535,452,000 increased by US$9 million more than the previous budget (US$526 million).

The Bill has been criticized by a lot of Representatives, particularly members of the ruling party including Rep. Acarous Gray of Montserrado County District eight, and Grand Kru County District two Representative Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa.

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About Post Author

New Republic Feature Writer

Alphonso has  been in the profession for over twenty years. He has worked for many international media outlets including: West Africa Magazine, Africa Week Magazine, African Observer and did occasional reporting for CNN, BBC World Service, Sunday Times, NPR, Radio Deutchewells, Radio Netherlands. He is the current correspondent for Reuters. Mr. Toweh holds first MA with honors in International Relations and a candidate for second master in International Peace studies and Conflict Resolution.
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