When President George Weah took the helm of power in 2017, he told his audience that he would ensure that the economy is revamped to meet present day realities, even though he did not rule out the challenges ahead.
One thing he made clear was, that the work ahead was daunting and needed everyone’s participation. Sincerely, it was not a mistake to have said such.
In that direction, he decided to set up a special presidential committee to review all concession agreements in the country. That was laudable and commendable.
A nine member committee was set up with The mandate to review all concessions, management and other agreements/contracts, currently in force between the Government of Liberia and concessionaires, managers, partners and investors; in order to determine whether concession, management and other agreements/contracts currently in force in Liberia, executed by the Government of Liberia and concessionaires, managers, partners and investors meet the legal requirements of the laws of the Republic of Liberia.
It will also help to determine whether the parties, Government of Liberia and the concessionaires, managers, partners and investors are in good standing, and current in their performance under the terms of the concession, management and other agreements/contracts that have already been signed.
The committee was also mandated to propose remedies and recommendations, where necessary, to address the default; and examine and review proposed concession, management and other agreements/contracts, as may, from time to time, be referred by the Office of the President and to make appropriate recommendations.”
This is very commendable. Transparency is crucial in every country’s economy. That was one of the reasons the previous administration received enviable support from the international community.
During the 12-year rule of Weah’s predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the government attracted around $15 billion in foreign investment, according to a report by the ministry of Finance an Devedlopment planning.
With this strategy in mind, it was expected that the committee will help in weeding out the perceived gremlins in the concession agreements, provided it remained active.
Members of the committee are: Hon. Archie Bernard – Chairman, Cllr. T. Negbalee Warner – Vice Chairman, Hon. Charles R. G. Bright – Member, Cllr. David A. B. Jallah – Member(deceased now),Cllr. Necular Y. Edwards – Member, Cllr. Bendu E. Clark – Member, Ms. Juah Nancy Cassell – Member, Cllr. Jallah A. Barbu – Member, and Cllr. P. Teplah Reeves – Member.
But not much is seen to have been done by this committee. With such committee set up, one would expect that its report would be out as a way to take the necessary action where needed.
What is of concern to us is that many committees that were set up by previous administrations have had little to show at the end of it.
They end up to do nothing; thus making them ‘good for nothing committees’.
This is not good for a country that is struggling to revamp its broken economy. We are not aware if they have even submitted their first report(We stand to be corrected) If such committee fails to submit one report, it enables the concession companies to flout the laws of the country at times. The reason may be simple; no action. It even gives concession companies the audacity with which to operate against the will of the Liberian people.
Mr. President, at this time, we call upon you to check on various committee heads, especially this Concession Committee, to know where they are with their work. Every good leader checks on his or her officials to know their effectiveness and commitment to their job.
Whichever way it turns out, it is your administration that is in the hot seat. No one is going to look at the Chairman of the committee, but president Weah.
It is about time for Liberians to know the various committee reports. This is a very important committee whose report could lead to improving the economy or negatively affecting the economy. Let not this committee be seen as an empty drum that produces the loudest noise.
Liberians are waiting to read or hear the outcome of the report.