RUNNING OUT OF TIME

...says Rights group boss

By: R. Joyclyn Wea

MONROVIA-It has been five years down the line since the Administration of President George M. Weah took over the affairs of the country.

With barely a few months to end his six years mandate, it is still uncertain as to whether President Weah will deliver on all if not a good number of what he promised the citizens before taking on the mantle of authority to steer the affairs of the country.

According to Data from Naymote Partners for Democratic Development, the ‘President Meter’ Project shows President Weah has fully completed 24 of the 292 promises made.

The Democratic Institution mentioned that it constitutes eight percent of all promises, while, 91 promises (31% of all promises) are ongoing during the reporting period.

This means that, out of all promises, attempts have been made on only 39% (the sum of those completed and those with ongoing activities).

The five-year performance report of President George Weah covers the period from January 2018 to January 2023.

Releasing the report recently in Monrovia, Naymote’s Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo said nearly two-thirds of all promises, 177 promises (61) were identified as ‘not started or not rated,’ because the government had not commenced work on their implementation, and there was no available information on the status of those promises.

Additionally, Eddie Jarwolo mentioned that the assessment found that there were limited efforts by the government on promises centered on ‘physical challenge and senior citizens.

The group noted that out of 10 promises under this sector action was only taken on one while, the government made progress by taking action on all 8 promises made under the ‘gender equality sector.

“The majority of the promises implemented were promised under pillar two of the manifesto (economy and job). These constituted 13 of all completed promises, 35 promises are ongoing and 91 promises have not started or rated due to the lack of information,” Jarwolo noted.

Specifically, promises on infrastructural development received a high completion rate constituting 9 of all completed promises, he added.

Jarwolo furthered that “Pillar one of the manifesto (power to the people) which has a total of 106 promises, has the lowest completion rate under pillar four (governance and transparency) remains the lowest.

The assessment however observed that implementation of some promises under this thematic area was ongoing and these could take several years due to the complex nature of the institutional and legislative reforms that may be required to fully implement them.”

The findings of this assessment further show that President Weah and his government are yet to implement nearly two-thirds of the promises they have made to the people of Liberia.

Numerous promises have been made, over the years, on poverty reduction, infrastructural development, and social service delivery, rule of law, government accountability, and decentralization, among others.

Jarwolo indicated that delivering promises made in campaign manifestos and policy statements is important for sustaining trust between the government and the citizens; conversely, failing to deliver undermines trust and confidence in the authority of the government.

“The government’s focus on infrastructure, needed to spur jobs and growth, is understandable, but the slow pace at which they are implementing promises on crucial reforms needed to strengthen anti-corruption institutions, improve delivery capacity, and implement decentralization is concerning,” he recommended.

Undoubtedly, Jarwolo noted that these reforms would build the foundation and systems required to manage public infrastructures, sustain growth and retain jobs.

“For instance, making the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Procurement and Concession Commission more effective and efficient would potentially reduce waste, fraud and abuse, and save resources for investment in social services and infrastructure.  He continued, “We therefore cannot overemphasize the need to accelerate these reforms through both the policy and legislative processes.

The Naymote’s Executive noted that an important challenge with tracking government promises in the dearth of data or information and the unwillingness of duty-bearers to provide information in some cases.

This sometimes limits the scope of the president’s meter report. Moreover, he says the lack of available information poses a greater challenge to accountability and government transparency.

“Public information on the status of government’s programs is important for building trust and enhancing accountability.  He furthered, “It is crucial, therefore, that the government strengthens its public information dissemination mechanism, and ensures periodic information on the status of all ongoing projects is provided to enhance transparency and public trust in the government.

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