The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, through its Department of Budget and Development Planning on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, climaxed ‘Phase One’ of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), technical review retreat in Ganta, Nimba County.
The revision was held under the theme: “Reprogramming PAPD High-Level National Targets in the Wake of the Impact of COVID-19”.
According to a release, Deputy Minister for Budget and Development Planning, Hon. Tanneh Brunson, told participants that the PAPD, launched in October 2018, laid out the government’s pro-poor policy direction, and is aligned with the SDGs 2030, and the AU Agenda 2063.
According to her, PAPD was developed against the background of 14 years of civil crisis, the twin shocks of the Ebola Virus Disease, and global economic downturn which affected commodity prices, as well as, lessons learned from the implementation of several short and medium-term plans from 2006 to 2017.
Maintaining macroeconomic stability, infrastructural development, and providing a business-friendly environment to stimulate private productive investments and creating more and better-quality jobs that are important for sustaining the peace and enhancing economic growth was the focus during the preparation of the PAPD, she said.
Hon. Brunson indicated, at the time economic growth was 3.2 percent and projected at 5.8 percent in 2023, as the lifespan of the PAPD, with projections based on factors including a potential robust fiscal and monetary regime, foreign exchange reforms, enhanced policy environment to improve the doing business environment, and increased competitiveness through investments in real growth-enabling sectors, mainly agriculture and fisheries, forestry and service sectors.
She pointed out the country’s current macroeconomic outlook, indicates that the attainment of the original targets of the PAPD is unrealistic, thus a review is being undertaken to assess the impact of COVID-19.
Additionally, she explained that with the onset of COVID-19, domestic and global economic activities including domestic and international resource mobilizations have been gravely affected, while domestic resource mobilization, especially taxes on international trade, taxes on goods and services, rental and corporation taxes have declined on account of global and national lockdowns; affecting the overall achievement of the PAPD targets.
further stated that the PAPD needs to be adjusted and targets recalibrated
based on sectoral reviews of PAPD’s priorities considering the impact
coronavirus crisis. This, however, must be done within the context of realistic
economic recovery interventions and accelerated actions to reposition and meet
realistic targets of the PAPD within the last three years.
She challenged the participants to not only reflect but also to clearly identify the impacts caused by COVID-19 and clearly articulate a path of what needs to be done, the feasibility of achieving them within the next 3 years, and how they can be achieved.
Gender, Health, and Education and Youth & Sports were agencies that made presentations during the technical review of the result matrix of the PAPD, in line with Pillar One. Summaries of achievements, challenges, and opportunities, including sector update specific result framework were captured during the review.
She thanked all development partners for their support to the country’s development objectives and commended also the NDC partnership for reaching in response to COVID-19, and the United Nations family, especially UNDP (for coordinating a multi-partner recovery partnership to support a Rapid Assessment of COVID-19 impact and implications in Liberia, review of the PAPD, preparation of a Recovery Plan and now a repositioned PAPD), UNICEF, IOM, UNWomen and UNECA for supporting the government in several areas.
For his part, UNDP National Economist, Stanley Kamara, termed the revision of the PAPD as a “very important undertaking”, stating that they look forward to working with the government.
Kamara said the review was the right way Liberia is moving in re-adjusting due
to the way COVID-19 was going.
Asst. Min. Benedict Kolubah, who also spoke at the event, said the PAPD launch was followed by shocks in the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic. He indicated it was important to look at the results framework to redefine activities the government wants to do, and by doing those things that will make an impact in the face of COVID-19.