President George Manneh Weah Friday, December 20, 2019 faced the Liberian public via his first presidential radio phone-in talk show at which time he repeated assurances to the people of Liberia about steady efforts being made by his administration to overcome the country’s economic gloom. He asserted that brighter days hover over the horizon and it is on a matter of time before Liberians celebrate the gains of his administration and the worth of the people’s own resilience.
The President said he believes in the tenacity of his governance team and the fortitude of the Liberian people to surmount, very soon, Liberia’s prevailing economic challenges which he described as serious but temporary.
The Liberian Leader said it would be unreasonable for anyone to think that the magnitude and depth of accumulated economic woes of Liberia inherited by his administration would be resolved in a single month or in a single year.
He said his administration would not make excuses but would rather remain seized of the responsibilities of governance, even including dissipating the spillover excesses from his predecessors.
The President said despite the impeding factors of debts inherited, including US$9 million to the Liberian Electricity Corporation (LED), US$65 million to commercial banks, which his administrated has serviced, Government, from its very first days in office began braving the storm by embarking upon ambitious infrastructure projects, including paved roads and modern housing units to the most needed communities and citizens.
He called on Liberians to remain trustful of him and his administration, and to be hopeful that all is not lost but that it is a matter of time before things get better for all citizens.
President Weah however implored the population to aspire for peace and harmony because, according to him, there can be no sustainable development and transformation in the absence of peace.
“We have a very good team and I can assure you that the challenges we are faced with, which are not our making, will be remedied very soon,” the President noted.
He said his administration is taking a shift from total dependence on international aid to diversifying the Liberian economy particularly with strong focus on agriculture and private entrepreneurship.
According to him, his administration has been working with international partners, particularly the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to overcome the vexing challenges posed by Liberia’s economic meltdown. Some of the steps already taken include Harmonization Policy, creating business-friendly environment, and creating sensitive tax regime, particularly on the proposed tax policy of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).
Calling on citizens to be productive and innovative, the President noted that it is the private sector rather than the public sector that constitutes the engine of growth, including mass employment, and national transformation.
Speaking about peace and reconciliation, the Chief Executive said Liberians needed to work together as one people, putting the supreme interest of their country first instead of indulging in diversions that would upset the peace and harmony of the country.
He said while he is opposed to granting impunity to wrongdoers and perpetrators of violent crimes, there are also procedures and other useful alternatives described and recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Committee that would save resources and sustain the peace.
The President referenced the Palaver Hut mechanisms which were recommended to bring war crimes perpetrators and victims face-to-face.
Not dismissing the need for retributive justice, the President opined that interactive engagements with victims and perpetrators will be more relevant, adding that most Liberians now want to move ahead with their lives.
The President’s breakfast phone-one talk show was hosted by Liberia Broadcasting Services’ Super Morning Show moderated by the Corporation’s Director General and private media guru, Ledgehood Rennie and John Kollie respectively. The program was interactive with open questions and comments from the public.
Local analysts and the citizenry hailed and described President Weah’s interaction as timely, as it came amid public anxieties about a mix of political and economic challenges and the need to have the President’s authoritative perspectives that would give hope to the people.
The Liberian Head of State used the moment to commend the IMF, World Bank, European Union, ECOWAS Commission, the United States Government, China, Japan and other partners for their faithfulness in the Liberian State and its people demonstrated in their relieving financial and technical supports.
His Excellency, Dr. Weah also thanked the National Legislature for remaining constructively engaged with the Executive Branch of Government in doing the right things that will make governance and national transformation efforts more workable and fruitful.
The President called on Liberians to eschew violence and other unlawful acts that could prolong efforts to cure the country’s harsh social, economic and political situation. He tendered Season’s Greetings to the population, wishing everyone Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Happy New Year.