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Go and register

The Director for Civil Voter’s Education at the National Elections Commission or NEC, Senesee G. Freeman, has urged Liberians, who have not registered, to participate in the process, so they can be able to exercise their constitutional right at the polls in October.


Speaking to this paper in an exclusive interview on Monday, 27 February Mr. Freeman noted that some citizens were feeling very reluctant to go and register, while others were begging for extension, saying if there were need for extension, it will be done in the last days, because extension requires lot of money.

“Extending the voter registration time sounds so easy but it is very expensive, it requires a lot of money because new materials need to be bought and also money needs to be allotted for the voter registration agents”, Mr. Freeman explained.
He added that reports from rural areas indicate that the turn up is encouraging, as people in rural Liberia are not just sitting, they are turning up to exercise their constitutional rights.

He stressed that seven days are really enough for those who, have not registered, to go and register, adding that for those who are working, they can also find time even on Saturday to register.
He said CVE exhibition process starts on May 18 and ends in June 17, 2017 to provide the public an opportunity to scrutinize registered voters in order to weed non-Liberians or citizens below age 18.

“If someone accuses another person of not being a Liberian or is not yet 18 years, that person should have sufficient evidence, that is why we request for everyone number during registration process, because if you were accused, we will call you to come and defend yourself in court, but if you refused to answer calls, your name will be omitted from the registration list”, the CVE boss said. Editing by Jonathan Browne

Construire des routes et des ponts exige transparence et équité

WASHINGTON, DC – Lors de la campagne présidentielle de novembre, Hillary Clinton et Donald Trump étaient d'accord sur un point : la dégradation des infrastructures nuit à l'économie américaine. C'est pourquoi ils appelaient tous deux à une augmentation des investissements destinés à leur rénovation. Maintenant que le gouvernement Trump prépare les grandes lignes de son premier budget, l'attention va se concentrer sur ce qu'il va faire dans ce domaine.


Les USA ne sont pas seuls à avoir des problèmes d'infrastructure. Leur insuffisance et leur dégradation sont encore plus criantes dans le reste du monde. D'autres pays avancés doivent eux aussi recommencer à investir dans les infrastructures, tandis que les pays émergents doivent se préparer à l'augmentation de leur population et de leur consommation et à la nécessité d'investir davantage dans les transports.

L'investissement dans les infrastructures commence à bénéficier de la politique adoptée après la crise financière mondiale de 2008. Dans l’Union européenne, le plan Juncker – qui cherche à réunir des fonds pour financer des projets plus risqués et plus innovants – vise à générer plus de 300 milliards de dollars d'investissement entre 2016 et 2018.

Les mesures en faveur de l'investissement dans les infrastructures des pays émergents sont d'encore plus grande ampleur – notamment en Chine qui développe des projets tant sur le plan intérieur qu'à l'étranger. Ces dernières années elle a créé des organismes de financement tels que le Fonds pour la route de la soie et suscité la création de nouvelles institutions financières comme la Banque asiatique d'investissement pour les infrastructures.

Bien conçu, l'investissement dans les infrastructures est rentable, car il permet de relancer des économies en difficulté en stimulant l'activité du secteur privé et en encourageant la croissance. Par contre, mal gérées, les dépenses destinées aux infrastructures publiques peuvent engendrer corruption et gaspillage - les contribuables financent alors "des ponts qui ne mènent nulle part". Pour qu'un investissement porte ses fruits, il faut qu'hormis son financement, toutes les autres étapes d'un projet, de sa sélection à sa conception et à sa mise en œuvre soient bien gérées.

Le succès d'un projet ne passe pas seulement par la compétence professionnelle et l'expertise technocratique. La transparence et la liberté de la presse sont aussi nécessaires. Pour qu'ils puissent suivre l'évolution d'un projet et exiger des responsables politiques qu'ils agissent en faveur de l'intérêt général, les citoyens doivent être bien informés.

Dans un nouveau livre, Tomas Hellebrandt et moi prévoyons que d'ici à 2035 les habitants de l'Afrique sub-saharienne, de l'Inde, de la Chine et des autres pays émergents du continent asiatique devaient quadrupler leurs dépenses consacrées aux déplacements.

Les personnes qui gagnent 200 dollars par an ne consacrent que 1% de leur revenu à leurs déplacements, contre 18% pour celles qui gagnent 20000 dollars par an. Au cours des 20 prochaines années, le nombre de personnes dont le revenu est compris entre 6000 – 20000 dollars va augmenter de plus d'un milliard et beaucoup d'entre elles achèteront pour la première fois une voiture. Et le nombre de personnes qui ont un revenu annuel supérieur à 20000 dollars va augmenter de prés de 800 millions - et nombre d'entre elles prendront l'avion pour partir en vacances.

Les réseaux de transport des pays émergents devront s'étendre considérablement pour répondre à une demande croissante. Quant aux pays avancés, même si leur infrastructure de transport est considérable et la taille de leur population stable, elle a un besoin urgent de rénovation, sans parler des réparations nécessaires.

Les pays émergents ne pourront financer leurs infrastructures que s'ils accroissent le rôle du secteur privé. Les fonds d'assurance et les sociétés d'assurance notamment pourraient fournir une grande partie des sommes nécessaires. Mais pour profiter de cette opportunité, il faudrait relâcher les exigences prudentielles à leur égard, de manière à ce que leur portefeuille de projets d'investissement soit diversifié. Il faudrait aussi créer des plateforme de co-investissement avec des banques de développement multilatéral ou régional pour renforcer la crédibilité de ces investissements.

Pour attirer les investisseurs privés, les Etats doivent maintenir la stabilité de leur environnement réglementaire et s'abstenir de toute interférence de caractère arbitraire. Ils devraient aussi indiquer clairement et faire respecter les obligations fiscales liées aux projets qui comportent une participation privée - ce que le Chili fait maintenant couramment. Cela évitera que les garanties de l'Etat en faveur des partenariats public-privé n'aient un coût budgétaire pouvant atteindre un point de pourcentage de PIB ou même davantage, comme cela s'est produit en Colombie, en Indonésie et au Portugal.

Les Etats doivent favoriser une culture de transparence de manière à ce que les fonds mis à disposition ne soient pas détournés en toute illégalité ou orientés vers des projets à faible valeur ajoutée dans un objectif politicien. Les appels d'offre et les principaux contrats doivent être publiés et toutes les étapes du processus de passation des marchés et d'établissement du contrat d'objectifs doivent faire l'objet d'un contrôle de qualité et être soigneusement consignées.

Pour décourager la fraude, il faut récompenser les lanceurs d'alerte et les protéger de représailles éventuelles. Les pays émergents qui sont en manque d'investissement doivent réformer de toute urgence le cadre institutionnel de sélection et de mise en œuvre des projets d'infrastructure. Néanmoins tous les pays sont plus ou moins touchés par la corruption, aussi les pays avancés doivent-ils protéger leurs projets d'infrastructure de l'influence d'intérêts particuliers et de toute interférence arbitraire de l'Etat.

Il est dans l'intérêt de tous d'encourager l'investissement dans les infrastructures des pays émergents. Ces pays étant maintenant à l'avant-front du combat contre le réchauffement climatique, tout le monde sera gagnant si cet investissement est orienté vers des projets respectueux de l'environnement. Construire des lignes de métro ou de chemin de fer plutôt que des routes permettrait de réduire les émissions de dioxyde de carbone au cours des prochaines décennies.

Les pays avancés peuvent encourager cette évolution en favorisant la recherche et le développement de la technologie verte, ainsi qu'en incitant financièrement l'investissement dans des infrastructures vertes par l'intermédiaire d'agences de crédit à l'exportation et de banques de développement multilatéral et régional. Un système de passation des marchés ouvert et transparent au niveau international favoriserait les meilleures technologies.

L'investissement dans les infrastructures est très prometteur, mais pour en récolter les fruits, les dirigeants des pays émergents doivent renforcer au plus tôt le cadre institutionnel de passation des marchés publics. Et les dirigeants des pays avancés doivent veiller à ce que la sélection des projets se fasse de manière équitable et en toute transparence, et s'assurer du contrôle effectif de leur mise en œuvre du début à la fin.

Le point de vue exprimé dans cet article est celui de l'auteur. Il ne représente pas nécessairement celui du FMI, de son conseil d'administration ou de sa direction.

Traduit de l’anglais par Patrice Horovitz

Paolo Mauro est sous-directeur du département Afrique du FMI. Il a écrit en collaboration avec Tomas Hellebrandt un livre intitulé World on the Move: Consumption Patterns in a More Equal Global Economy alors qu'il était chercheur à l'Institut Peterson pour l'économie internationale.

par Paolo Mauro

Lawmakers abandon session

For reasons best known to them, members of the House of Representatives conspicuously abandoned their statutory duty to convene session on Thursday, 23 Februaryas many of them reportedly troopto their respective districts.


The chambers of the House of Representatives were seen empty, with House Speaker Emmanuel James Nuquay and Deputy Speaker Hans Barchueremaining in their respective offices, passing the day off.

Both men appeared apparently embarrassed over the abandonment of the House’s Chambers as lawmakers troop to their districts to use the ongoing voter registration exercise as opportunity to interact with potential electorates.

The 1986 Constitution of Liberia mandates members of the Legislature to meet every Tuesday and Thursday to conduct official business.

But that was not the case on Thursday, as majority of the representatives from the 15 political subdivisions of the country were nowhere to be found.

Information gathered within the corridors of the House seems to suggest that majority of the lawmakers are seeking reelection, and that they have reportedly gone to their respective districts to educate eligible Liberians to register for the October 10 elections.
This year’s election will include candidates for presidency and the House of Representatives, and not the Senate.

Speaking to reporters assigned at the Capitol Building, the Director of Press and Public Affairs Mr. Isaac Redd said there was a drop in the number of communication in the office of Speaker Nuquay that should be discussed and acted upon in plenary.
He said members of the House of Representatives met on Tuesday and decided cancellation of Thursday’s session on grounds that there were more national issues that would warrant the attention of each lawmaker.
“The speaker thought to hold series of meetings with international partners and other members of the Executive on how some vital issues can be quickly resolved,” Mr. Redd said.

He said session will be held next Tuesday, on grounds that the management of the Liberia Electricity Cooperation has informed the leadership of the House that there won’t be electricity at the Capitol today, Friday.

“LEC has informed the House that there will be no electricity in the building and so you don’t expect the lawmakers to come here when there is no light in the building.  So session will now be held next Tuesday”, Redd told reporters.
By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Winston W. Parley

Body found behind Defense Ministry

The remains of a 30-year-old man who reportedly drowned in the PHP Community behind the Barclay Training Center or B.T.C. barracks in Monrovia have been discovered.


The late EmmetKoyor was discovered by community residents on Wednesday, February 22nd. He had gone on the beach with some friends to swim when he reportedly drowned.
Since the incident, the situation surrounding his death has drawn suspicions and speculations among residents with some attributing it to witchcraft.

Speaking to this paper, a resident of the PHP community Achieboy Parker, who has identified himself as a friend of the deceased, narrated that the late EmmetKoryora.k.a “EK Money” was not a resident of the community, adding that he came from Johnson Street where he resided to spend time with friends, but meet his untimely death.
“It was Wednesday morning; I was sitting at my shop when I saw him and his friend arguing over five Liberian dollars. Immediately I went and settled the dispute by giving him 25 Liberian dollars to forget the argument. Later, I heard my little sister running towards the yard saying, ‘EK Money is leaving in the sea.’

But when I got there, most of the swimmers said none of them could rescue him, because according to them, their feet were heavy and his drowning has something to do with witch”, Achieboy explained.
“He was my friend, he left his house on Johnson Street to spend time with me here at PHP, but the speculation that is surrounding his death is shocking me, though I was not on the scene but on Wednesday, I only heard my little sister bringing crying to me saying, ‘Emmanuel leaving in the sea’, but before I got there the wave has carried him in deep sea; there was no way anyone could rescue him”, he further narrated.

According to him, people who went on the scene of the incident told him that there were swimmers who could have rescued the late EmmetKoryor, but they all complained that their feet were heavy to move.
“This is where I too want to believe that his death has something to do with witchcraft activities, because why would swimmers, who normally rescue people here at PHP, claim that their feet were heavy to rescue our own friend?” Achieboy asked in disbelief.

Abraham Doe, another eyewitness, who was on the scene, said he was with the deceased and they both swim together before he allegedly drowned.
, “I met ‘EK Money’ standing on the beach at 9: 30 in the morning, we all got in the water together and started to swim, but the next thing I saw was this huge wave covering us; when I came to myself, we lost each other - that was how he got drowned”, Abraham explains.
He said there were people who could have swim to save the deceased, but they rejected on grounds that their feet were heavy, and this is something that was creating fear among residents.

BY Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

 

Peace sustainability rests with young people

The President and Executive Director of the Young Ambassador of Peace or YAP Momo Taylor,has said sustainability of peace in Liberia rests with young people, who are future leaders.


The YAP leader said statistics shows that about 60 percent of Liberia’s population is young people, who are direct custodians of the peace that citizens across the country are enjoying today.

Addressing reporters recently in Monrovia, Mr. Taylor pointed out that if Liberia must sustain the peace, inclusion of young people in decision making, and nation building must be taken into serious consideration.
“Our fight in this campaign is to create activities and program that will attract young people to stay away from issue surrounding violence and focus on youth empowerment, among other essential things”, he expressed.

According to him, one of the primary objectives of YAP is to get involved in issues that promote non-violence, noting that in the past the youth of Liberia had been blamed for violence, but this is no longer the case, as young people have walked away from acts that instigate violence.

“Our coming here is to inform the public about the upcoming national peace and reconciliation tournament that is expected to take place soon, we engage 35 percent of the 73 members of the House of Representatives to engage their various districts and to encourage youths in their various districts to form part of this youth tournament”, he added.
Mr. Taylor said the only way peace can be sustained in Liberia, young people, who are in majority,should come together and have peace activities to ensure that peace messagesare taken across all15 sub-divisions of Liberia.
“There is need that young people across this country get involved in activities that will promote peace instead of violence, against this; we thought it wise to invite young intellectuals from Pakistan and Kenya to share their experiences with our fellow youth on the importance of sustainability of peace.”
The YAP President said the pending election in October will be critical, because it is the first since 1944 where Liberians will witness free transfer of power from one administration to the other.
“This is an historic event that needs to be celebrated, because no one will be taken weapon or jump in the street to cause instability, but instead our weapon will be transcended into messages on issues relative to how best young people can be the fullbearers of the sustainability of the peace across Liberia”, he concluded.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Labour Minister frowns on child labor

The Ministry of Labor has frowned on the wave of child labor in the country, stressing the need to end the practice. LabourMinister NetoZarzarLighe, Sr. said the law against child labor should be vigorously enforced to get children off the streets.


“We see our children during school hours selling in the streets, while their mates are in school, children these days have been used as bread winners of the various homes, these things must come to an end”, he emphasized.
Speaking to UNMIL Radio on Tuesday,21 February he said the issue of child labor has drawn the attention of the Ministry and everything was being done to minimize the act.

“I think what is needed to put an end to this child labor thing is for every stakeholder to join hands in the fight against this act, because this is mostly happening in the informal sector, people that are in those sectors don’t really understand the implications of child labor, and so we all need to come together as one head and work together to avoid the continuation of this act”, said Minister Lighe.

He said the ministry is working to ensure that the issue of child labor is addressed, because often there are complaints from the public. “And just to say, our recent conclusion was also centered around this same child labor thing, as you may be aware, we just concluded the validation of a national action plan.”
According to the Labour boss, the recent validation was at the result of numerous consultations held with local and international partners on how to address child labor here saying, “The document is expected to be submitted to cabinet, where they will endorse it before it reaches the President.”

“If all of us put our hands together, to make sure that the issue of child labor is avoided, high level of awareness, everyone working in the child labor sector to serve as ambassador to stop the child labor, Liberia will be a better place”, he further emphasized.

He said the Ministry of Labour cannot address the problem alone, because there are so many things that needed to be added. “We cannot address this child labor issue 100 percent, simply because there are number of things that are required in addressing them, but what I think can be done is to work with other relevant government ministries, and agencies, including the Ministry of Gender, among others to bring this situation to a calm.”

The Ministry of Labor, created by an Act of the National Legislature in 1981, is charged with the Statutory Mandate to regulate the labor sector of the Republic of Liberia through development and implementation of policies for adherence to the Labor Practices Law of Liberia and International Labor Conventions.

By Lewis S. Teh& Ethel A. Tweh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

NEC admits to slow VR process

The National Elections Commission or NEC has admitted to slow start of the ongoing voter’s registration across the country, but said it is because of the impression Liberians made about staffs at the commission.


NEC Communication Director Joseph Nyesuah told UNMIL Radio on Tuesday, February 21, that citizens, who went to the various centers to get registered, noted that whenever they arrived, no staff was around to register them, saying “I think this is why the process has been slow.”

“The process is dropping because of the impression others have made that whenever they go to register, nobody is around to cater to them, and those people will never want to go and see for themselves or make any follow up about the information that was given to them”, he however argued.
Mr. Nyesuah said these concerns have already been addressed, but the paramount issue now is materials needed to expedite the process, adding that awareness, which was lacking, is currently undergoing in all parts of the country and mechanisms are being put in place to speed up the exercise.

According to him, citizens that left their various houses to go register are the ones finding problem with NEC staffs, saying “there is a need for our people to encourage their relatives, friends to take interest in the voter registration, and stop telling them to back off from the exercise, because it is a matter of the state.”
When asked about the performance of staffs deployed at various centers, the Communication Director quickly responded that all those, who are working for the Commission in the registration process are Liberians that were hired and trained; no foreigners among them.

“I can’t understand why people would complain about NEC staffs that are assigned at various centers, these are all Liberians, I mean nobody at the NEC that has handpicked any of their relatives or family members to work, all those staffs are people that underwent the necessary training, so they are doing their work.”
He said the NEC has a contract with staffers, and they are aware of what they will receive at the end of the exercise, so there was no need to raise any concern about their contract.

Lonestar Cell MTN empowers market women

Liberia’s giant mobile telecommunication network Lonestar Cell MTN has embarked on a campaign of empowering market women in Montserrado County and its environs with its mobile money transaction.



The Company says the campaign is intended to help buttress efforts of market women across the country, because often they are bread winners for their respective families hence, the opportunity was necessary to enable them learn about the mobile money transaction.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, 17 February in Old Road Market situated in Old Road community, Lonestar Cell Senior Mobile Money Manager Massa Dennis said, “Our market women initiative is geared towards empowering women in terms of financial inclusion, giving them the means to save their money conveniently to realize their daily income without difficulties.”
Massa continues, “In order for the market women to be able to save their money, and know much about this mobile money campaign, we set up an educational form for them so every market woman, who participates in this project, and do a minimum transaction within a one month period - that woman stands a chance to get 2000,000 Liberian dollars that would help to boost her business.”

She said the company is carrying out the initiative for about 1000, 000 market women in Montserrado and its environs, adding “This is not our first time providing such an opportunity; last year we did the same for the wheelbarrow union, where we gave out 50 wheelbarrows to the union and this year we thought to do seminar thing for the market women.”
According to Madam Dennis, Lone Star Cell Mobile Money is trying to empower grassroots beneficiaries across the country, saying “We registered them for mobile money, where they can easily pay for the market through the same mobile money, in order for them to know this we provided one month extensive training for these women to be able to use mobile money, and its benefits.”

The Mobile Money Manager further explained that the service is for the poor, and that is exactly why their strategy is to get to grassroots people that are in need of these kinds of assistance, to empower them. She noted that most market women don’t have access to banks, so mobile money helps in that direction to save their money, to purchase their market, and to for them to send money to their families in other counties.
“We have 10 agents at this old road market where these women can have access to mobile money services, we have also set up a platform where an agent can bring her friend; they stand a chance to a thousand plus for that recruitment.
Also speaking to reporters, one of the marketers described mobile money service as important, because according to her, they are the ones in business.

She said customers often buy from her business, using mobile money promotion, but the challenge that marketers face is lack of phone.

Madam Veronica Thompson noted that the issue of phone remains a serious challenge for those of them involved in the mobile money transaction.

“We want to appreciate Lonestar Cell MTN for bringing this service to us, no one knew about using mobile money to purchase goods, but over the past weeks, I can say many of the women in this market are using it, but we also want to call on Lonestar Cell to buy us phones as well”, she pleaded.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Lonestar Cell MTN empowers market women

Liberia’s giant mobile telecommunication network Lonestar Cell MTN has embarked on a campaign of empowering market women in Montserrado County and its environs with its mobile money transaction.



The Company says the campaign is intended to help buttress efforts of market women across the country, because often they are bread winners for their respective families hence, the opportunity was necessary to enable them learn about the mobile money transaction.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, 17 February in Old Road Market situated in Old Road community, Lonestar Cell Senior Mobile Money Manager Massa Dennis said, “Our market women initiative is geared towards empowering women in terms of financial inclusion, giving them the means to save their money conveniently to realize their daily income without difficulties.”

Massa continues, “In order for the market women to be able to save their money, and know much about this mobile money campaign, we set up an educational form for them so every market woman, who participates in this project, and do a minimum transaction within a one month period - that woman stands a chance to get 2000,000 Liberian dollars that would help to boost her business.”

She said the company is carrying out the initiative for about 1000, 000 market women in Montserrado and its environs, adding “This is not our first time providing such an opportunity; last year we did the same for the wheelbarrow union, where we gave out 50 wheelbarrows to the union and this year we thought to do seminar thing for the market women.”
According to Madam Dennis, Lone Star Cell Mobile Money is trying to empower grassroots beneficiaries across the country, saying “We registered them for mobile money, where they can easily pay for the market through the same mobile money, in order for them to know this we provided one month extensive training for these women to be able to use mobile money, and its benefits.”
The Mobile Money Manager further explained that the service is for the poor, and that is exactly why their strategy is to get to grassroots people that are in need of these kinds of assistance, to empower them. She noted that most market women don’t have access to banks, so mobile money helps in that direction to save their money, to purchase their market, and to for them to send money to their families in other counties.
“We have 10 agents at this old road market where these women can have access to mobile money services, we have also set up a platform where an agent can bring her friend; they stand a chance to a thousand plus for that recruitment.
Also speaking to reporters, one of the marketers described mobile money service as important, because according to her, they are the ones in business.
She said customers often buy from her business, using mobile money promotion, but the challenge that marketers face is lack of phone.
Madam Veronica Thompson noted that the issue of phone remains a serious challenge for those of them involved in the mobile money transaction.
“We want to appreciate Lonestar Cell MTN for bringing this service to us, no one knew about using mobile money to purchase goods, but over the past weeks, I can say many of the women in this market are using it, but we also want to call on Lonestar Cell to buy us phones as well”, she pleaded.Editing by Jonathan Browne

Amb.Sulunteh negotiates with university in U.S.

Liberia’s former Ambassador to the United States, Canada and Mexico, JeremiahSulunteh, says he has concluded negotiations for the establishment ofstudents and faculty exchange programs between Cuttington Universityand the Mississippi State University in the U.S.


Amb.Sulunteh told the NewDawn’s Bong County correspondent recently inSuakoko District that the negotiation was part of efforts to exploringforeign opportunities for Liberian students.

The former Liberian Envoy noted that the negotiation started sometimeslast year when he honored the Mississippi State University forenrolling a son of Bong County, Mr. Victor Flomo into their PhD program.

Victor is one of four Liberian students studying in the United Stateson the expense of the former Liberian diploma, Sulunteh. Mr. Sulunteh added that the two universities have welcomed thecollaboration and acquaintances between the two presidents are due totake place very soon.

Amb.Sulunteh further said his support to the education of youngLiberians remains unbending, cautioning those that will benefit fromthe outcome of such negotiation to make maximum use of the opportunity.

By Papa Morris in Bong County-Editing by Winston W. Parley

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