Monrovia-Feb-1-TNR:President Joseph Nyumah Boakai has alarmed over the state of the nation’s economy saying there is a cause for concern.
Throwing light on the state of the economy when he delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday January 29, 2024, the Liberian leader noted, “The state of the economy is a cause for concern, with many of our citizens facing perennial unemployment and economic instability. We must not just recognize the pain and frustration that permeate our society, but also work together to introduce and pass legislations that will prioritize economic reforms that foster sustainable economic growth and job creation.”
According to President Boakai, economic growth slowed between 2022 and 2023, from 4.8 percent to 4.6 percent. The rate of growth averaged about 1.5 percent, compared with 3.1 percent between 2012 and 2017 due in part to an underperforming economy and the existing geo-political global environment. During the past six years, the economy faced challenges in terms of growth, job creation, and poverty reduction.
President Boakai said inflation during the period 2023 rose to 10.1 percent at the end of December, from 7.6 percent in 2022. Revenue collection as reported for 2023 stood at US$710.23 million while expenditure totaled US$796.32 million; hence, a large budget deficit of over US$80 million.
He added, “We intend to change this state of the economy by thinking “outside the box;” a paradigm shift away from reliance on primary commodity export to focusing on value addition with the private sector as the engine to drive the economy. Under my Administration, the empowerment of Liberian entrepreneurship through more support will help bring back the made in Liberia quest for inclusive and sustainable growth and jobs.”
“In our quest to expand the economy, we will leverage Information Communication Technology (ICT) in creating jobs, especially for our youth. To achieve this, my Administration will train up to 10,000 young people in various digital skills in the first half of 2024. The Liberian middle-class goal must be a reality in the next 6 years,” the Liberian leader averred.
Speaking further Boakai noted, “We must acknowledge the harsh realities that face us, as we report that the state of our nation is not what we desire. It is important to note the problems that confront us: Poverty, drug epidemic, corruption, poor infrastructure, and an underperforming economy. The current challenges present us with a unique opportunity to embark on a new journey of hope. This is our commitment to rescue the nation.”
Speaking about his administration’s vision for the next six years, the President noted, “Our vision, as revealed in ARREST (meaning, Agriculture, Roads, Rule of Law, Education, Sanitation, Tourism) shall guide the preparation of the new Medium-term National Development Plan for the welfare of our people. We must harness opportunities in agriculture, roads, and other infrastructure development; improve the rule of law, rethink the education sector, improve sanitation, and unlock the potential of tourism.”
The President among other things, concluded, “We believe that creating economic linkages between these development facets and reinforcing them will help reverse years of economic downturns.”