From the strike of any imagination it is clearly written on the faces of over eighty per cent of the nation’s population that vibration from the querulous economy makes it no secret that indeed, these are not normal times and the more they wiggle to keep their heads at least above the chilly roaring waters, the deeper they continue to sink with no glimpse of hope reflected to renew their shattered expectations.
In times like these, it is very important to listen keenly and adjust with the fortitude of correcting the multiplicity of wrongs that are comfortably rooted and in no hurry of quitting our path to prosperity; and as made very clear at its news conference held on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 in Monrovia, the World Bank (WB) pointed out that Liberia’s economy will contract or shrink at 1.4 % and if the government sincerely carries out reform honestly it would take one to two years that things may begin to pick up.
Such is not a new recipe offered because the International Monetary Fund (IMF) some time ago also proffered several professionally-influenced financial recommendations to resuscitate the handicapped economy of which reform was profoundly highlighted if the nation is to experience a turn-around although a time spin was disclosed; yet the economy keeps sliding and stalling.
Moreover, the just-ended National Economic Dialogue (NED) propounded several food for thoughts for the revitalization of the very sick and on critical list economy, including thorough check and slow down on lavish-spending along with the establishment of the war and economic courts as well as subscribing to strict fiscal discipline if the economy is to gain progressive and productive steam of responsiveness.
On a sober note, the administration of President George M. Weah took full charge of fiscal budget in FY2018/19 with the amount of US$570.148m. Actual performance against projected budget amount is US$481m or 84%. However, the government managed a six (6) months budget of previous administration with total amount of US$536m of which this administration collected US$453m. In FY2018/19, the fiscal stance of government witnessed a moderate increase in revenues, combined with a steady decrease in government spending.
The Fiscal Situation comprises several policy reforms: (i) wage reform as a means of strengthening public financial management; (ii) domestic revenue mobilization to improve revenue administration and performance while maximizing Government tax effort; (iii) a reduction in the overall fiscal deficit through the implementation of government cash plan system. These reform measures, as enshrined in PAPD, are aimed toward expanding the fiscal space while mitigating government’s expenditure and maintaining a concise and efficient budget.
A successful fiscal reforms or adjustment will require: (i) increased revenue collection, including revenues from natural resources and agricultural concessions; (ii) systemic improvements in expenditure efficiency and discipline, including the efficient management of the wage bill and external aid; (iii) a prudent debt policy and management. Finally, absence of progress on key structural reforms- including improvements in the domestic revenue mobilization, business climate reforms, and efficiency in public sector investment – could undermine medium term growth and economic diversification.
Increase revenue collection including revenue from natural resources and agricultural concession a– the implementation of the already launched Domestic Resources Mobilization Strategy is on its way as the regime has made amends with excise taxation to include tax stamps, critical review and analyzed government’s tax expenditures, transition from GST to VAT, improve the tax payment system to enable the easing of payment and filing both manually and electronically.
Until these fruitful guidelines packaged as roadmap are adhered to and put very far above any form of personal temptations to suit fame, wants and showcase; make no mistake that nation is frustratingly going through a very difficult era that is harshly trying the souls of the struggling masses with now so many parents unable to get their children back in school; hardship and serious hunger tormenting so many homes, while the list of newly arrived beggars turns the longest with many of those who once extended helping hands to others are no longer capable or willing to be available.
Believe it or leave it depending on the side of the fence you may find yourself, and to think that you find yourself on the side of the fence that the grass is greener; equally so keep in mind that in the same vein, the bulls are starving and that it’s no time joke and laugh because the nation is crying and the people are catching hell in their own land.