Special Feature

H.E President George Weah President-Head of State & Commander-In-Chief, Armed Forces, Republic of Liberia

Dear President Weah:
My Little Advice to You

I extend my homage and felicitations to you and your entire government in the name of Jesus. I am Jones Octavious Mallay, Sr. I hail from Somalahum village, Kolahum district Lofa County-Liberia. I am a current resident of the US and a syndicated columnist in the “New Dawn Newspaper” column titled: “From Where I see The Weah’s Presidency”. I did not vote for you. I am not a member of your CDC's party, neither was I counted in the votes that eventually made you president, head-of-state and commander-in-chief, Armed Forces of the Republic of Liberia. Though, I didn't vote for you, you are still my president. I will continue to acknowledge you as our President, despite all the negative social, economic and political odds and as long you continue to respect your legal constitutional boundaries and not tampering with the constitution and laws of Liberia.


Be reminded that many African presidents rise up and are quickly dethroned, killed or sometimes removed from office either due to their own political deportment, or political proudness in which they see themselves as “small gods” and also by making themselves untouchable or by exercising access uncontrollable political power. I am writing you purposely to advise you of your bad temperament, your defiant spirit to ordinary Liberians, and your uncontrollable anger problems. No one hates any leader in Liberia, it is the leaders themselves who create conditions for their own citizens to hate them or turned against them.

You need to put your emotion under control if you want for Liberians to be free with you. You need to speak with Liberians in a very politely and peaceful manner with passion and in love and not with the use of political power and set of presidential authorities. You need to do away with a potential defiant spirit and be the listening type of president. For example, women in Nimba recently demonstrated against the increase of the US dollar rate on the Liberian market, 1 dollar to 145 LD, yet you took offense and did not pay heed to their concerns, that was a bad sign for your presidency.

You need not to be defiant of whatsoever Liberians are going through under your leadership. For example, most Liberians pointed at some of your bad appointments in government, yet you refused to listen to them because it is your government. Liberians are speaking to you about their terrible living condition, you simply careless about their plight. It is God who speaks through people to their leaders. I want for you to kindly take note of this.

The spirit of proudness and holding things against your fellow Liberians is not a good sign for your presidency. Liberians are suffering. Many of them do not even have bread to eat from sunrise to sunset, yet nothing is happening from your end as president, to enforce policies that can ease the burden of Liberians, which is not a good sign for your presidency. The US dollar is going up every second in Liberia, which has continued to affect the lives of Liberians directly and indirectly, which is not a good sign for your presidency.

Most Liberians are becoming mere beggars in their own country while the foreigners have continued to hike the prices of goods like rice, building materials, transportation and many other, which is not a good sign for your presidency. Innocent Liberians are being killed and their body parts being extracted from them especially in Monrovia and their bodies are thrown in street corners with your office not speaking to these type of gruesome killings, this is not a good sign for your presidency.

School fees are rising both in the public and private schools, your office is doing nothing to speak against the enforcement of policies that can reduce huge school fees on poor mothers in Liberia. New fees for students from elementary school to 12 grades have continued to rise up at a pace that even the average Liberian family cannot cope with such situation, this is not a good sign for your presidency.

The foreigners have hijacked the Liberian economy. They are all in the bushes in Liberia far and near digging gold, diamond and felling our logs, with no one stop such madness, if though Liberia has no government in place, this is not a good sign for your presidency. Nigerians, Fulani, Lebanese, Ghanaians, Guineans, Chinese and other equally dangerous foreign nationals have captured all the small markets in Liberia depriving small Liberian businesses of functioning effectively, this is not a good sign for your presidency. This cannot happen in Ghana, Nigeria or China. For example, the Chinese are mining rocks, sands, charcoal, burning fish, selling cool water, ice cream, ice water if though, Liberia has no government. This is not a good sign for your presidency for the future of Liberian businesses.

Your security men are harassing common and innocent Liberians who speak against you, this is not a good sign for your presidency. For example, Journalist Jonathan Paye Layleh left the country under the cover of darkness for fear of his life, that was not a good sign for your presidency. The United Nations, human rights commission and the US have taken note of this journalist issue, this is not a good sign for your presidency.

Your vice president is calling for Liberians who are not Cedecians to be marginalized, this is not a good sign for your presidency. You have submitted a bill to paralyze or destroy the press freedom law that was crafted by former president Sirleaf, this is not a good sign for your presidency. Since your inauguration, you have made more than five international trips with a huge delegation at the expense of taxpayer money when Liberians cannot get fitting drinking water or a meal a day, this is not a good sign for your presidency. You referred to your government as ‘pro-poor”, yet you are engaging in the signing loans that will have dangerous effects on the future generation of Liberia, yet foreigners are in our bushes smuggling our gold, diamond and log that should bring money to the government. Even those who voted for you are getting out of patient due to the hardship they are experiencing, which is not a good sign for your presidency. You are beginning to erect buildings and receiving a plane as a gift from a friend, this is not a good sign for your presidency.

Woewiyu’s trial highlights complicated U.S. legacy in war-torn Liberia

Thomas Woewiyu outside the federal courthouse in Philadelphia during a break Monday from his immigration fraud trial. Nearly 30 years after a force of rebels seized much of Liberia, executed its president, and kicked off a devastating civil war, Herman J. Cohen’s first face-to-face meeting with the country’s most infamous warlord, Charles Taylor, remains cemented in his memory.-The Inquirer (Philly) reports.


Cohen, then serving as an assistant U.S. secretary of state, had been dispatched in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush in hopes of securing assurances that American interests would be protected from the fighting that had already killed hundreds of civilians. But he quickly realized this was to be no ordinary meeting between diplomat and foreign leader.

“We were greeted by these teenagers, all of whom had very large automatic weapons. It was quite frightening,” Cohen recalled Wednesday in a federal courtroom in Philadelphia. Taylor, he said, sat at their center, lounging in fatigues under a thatched roof on what appeared to be a makeshift throne.

But it was the artwork hanging behind the West African strongman that caught Cohen’s eye. “There was a large portrait of the Kennedy family – John F. Kennedy and his wife,” Cohen said. “I got the feeling he was identifying with him.”
AP Photo

Liberian warlord Charles Taylor in May 1990.
Cohen’s recollection of that 1990 encounter in the West African bush came as U.S. prosecutors presented the opening week of their trial against one of Taylor’s top lieutenants, Thomas Woewiyu. They contend the Collingdale, Delaware County, man lied to U.S. immigration authorities in 2006 about the role he played in the former Liberian president’s murderous rise to power.

Though he faces only immigration-related charges, the trial that is set to resume Monday has made Woewiyu one of the only wartime leaders to face any criminal consequences for his actions during the bloody, tribal brawl that ravaged Liberia between 1989 and 1997.

And Cohen’s testimony – along with the string of other former U.S. diplomats and war correspondents called as government witnesses so far – amounted to a crash course in history for a jury largely unfamiliar with a conflict in a nation thousands of miles and an ocean away.

Their accounts also highlighted Liberia’s own complicated history with the United States and American efforts to influence the civil war – efforts that Woewiyu now cites as key to his defense.

As Taylor’s chief spokesman throughout the war, he spoke with U.S. officials so often back then that his lawyers argue it is ludicrous to suggest now that he would attempt to hide that association. They have dismissed his failure to mention it on his citizenship application as a mistake.

“Everyone in our government knew [his history] … long before he applied for citizenship,” defense lawyer Catherine Henry said to jurors Monday.
Liberia’s politics and conflicts have been driven for centuries almost entirely by ethnic discord tied to its association with the United States – a history dating to the nation’s 1847 founding as a home for freed and repatriated American slaves.

Those former slaves and their descendants, known as Americo-Liberians, have long clashed with the nation’s multifactioned indigenous population — one often mired in its own internal battles.

Tensions reached a boiling point in 1980 when Samuel Doe, a Liberian of the indigenous Krahn tribe, stormed the country’s capital, Monrovia, executed its president, and seized control of the government from the Americo-Liberians.

Courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Liberian president Samuel Doe, right, visits with then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan during a White House visit in 1982
Though uneasy with the circumstances under which Doe came to power, President Ronald Reagan was eager to maintain a relationship with the nation, then home to thousands of American citizens and assets, including a rubber plantation owned by the tire company Firestone that supplied the U.S. military.

He welcomed Doe to a 1982 White House reception, where he famously flubbed his introduction of the Liberian leader he called “Chairman Moe,” and showered the country with U.S. aid — more per capita than any other nation in sub-Saharan Africa at the time.

But Doe’s regime quickly showed that it was as violent and riven by corruption as the one it had replaced. All the while, a group of Liberian expats — including both Taylor and Woewiyu, then a legal permanent resident living outside Newark, N.J. — were launching a plan to remove him.

The organization they formed to support their effort would later become known as the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL). They made their first successful strike on Christmas Eve 1989 and within months Taylor had seized much of the countryside.

For a time, the United States sought to play both sides of the conflict – eager to avoid being shut out of the country by whichever faction emerged the victor, James K. Bishop, the former U.S. ambassador to Liberia, testified Wednesday.

Yet, neither side presented an ideal ally. Doe’s government had become increasingly unpopular among Liberians and he was eventually assassinated by an offshoot of Taylor’s forces less than a year into the war. Taylor was a convicted felon who had escaped from an American prison in the 1980s before his attempt to violently seize control of his own nation.

Meanwhile, conditions on the ground in Liberia deteriorated.
“Both sides were savaging civilians,” Bishop said. “Many thousands of Liberia had crowded into [Monrovia], fleeing from the violence. And the food situation was becoming critical.”

Woewiyu emerged from that fray. He called Cohen, the Bush-era State Department official, days after the NPFL invasion to introduce himself as Taylor’s chief spokesman and defense minister. He assured the U.S. that its goal was to replace Doe’s regime with a democratically elected government.

LIBERIAN DIALOGUE
Thomas Jucontee Woewiyu photographed in the early 1990s.
Cohen testified Wednesday that upon first blush Woewiyu, an erudite family man who by that time had lived in the U.S. for decades, appeared to be a voice of reason amid the chaos.

“He impressed me as someone of reliability,” Cohen said, echoing sentiments later expressed by Elizabeth Blunt, the BBC’s former West Africa correspondent.
She interviewed Woewiyu several times during the war and also described him during testimony Thursday as a seemingly respectable figure.
“He was very articulate – not as flamboyant as Charles Taylor, but in a bit of the same style,” she said. “If you’re trying to put someone forward that gives the impression that yours is a serious political movement, he was a good PR man.”

Prosecutors say, however, that that “acceptable public face” was just a ruse Woewiyu used when dealing with international leaders to hide the worst excesses of Taylor’s fighting forces including summary executions of civilians, looting, and the conscription of child soldiers. His claimed desire for a quick, democratic resolution to the conflict quickly evaporated, they maintain, and several witnesses have testified they saw him in Liberia commanding NPFL troops.

“Tom Woewiyu is responsible directly and indirectly [for] the acts that were committed throughout this conflict by the NPFL,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nelson S.T. Thayer Jr. told jurors in opening statements.

In the first four days of the trial — one expected to last three weeks — defense lawyer Mark Wilson sought in questioning the government’s witnesses to cast Woewiyu as a freedom fighter who stood in opposition to the corrupt and oppressive Doe.

Woewiyu played no part in the regrettable atrocities that were undeniably committed, he and cocounsel Henry have argued. “There was not one good guy and one bad guy,” Henry said. “There’s plenty of blame to go around.”

 

OFFICES OF THE VICE PRESIDENT, REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA LOCATED IN FARAWAY CAPITOL BUILDING HOME OF THE NATIONAL LEGISLATURE:SOME THOUGHTS

The Vice President of Liberia, under the Constitution, is Deputy or Assistant President of the Nation. As such, he/she becomes President in the event of death, disability or any other inability of the President to serve in performing his/her functions.


The Vice President is bound, by law, to assist the President in the planning, coordination and cooperation in carrying out the duties of their common responsibilities – local, national and international – to the best of their abilities. Thus, the offices of the Vice President should and must be located closed to the President at the Executive Mansion national offices of the Chief Executive of the Nation, to facilitate a close, cooperative and cohesive work relationship and to achieve the best interest of the nation and people.

For 170 Years
But, throughout the nation’s history of more than a century and half to this day, the Vice President has been, and is, banished to faraway Capitol Building, home offices of the National Legislature as “President of the Senate” where he/she has no meaningful function befitting the position of Deputy President of the nation, but to cast a tie-vote, although the Senate has a presiding officer, the President Protempore. This approach is not only demeaning, but also, that it is wasteful of useful talent, commitment, loyalty and patriotism.

Why was the Vice President or Vice Presidency of the nation so banished? For whatever reason, the banishment has outlived its usefulness for today’s liberal, progressive world of pro-democracy.

Therefore, the offices of the Vice President, or Deputy President, must be located at the Executive Mansion Offices of the Chief Executive to facilitate close, cordial, understanding, coordinative, cooperative, cohesive and mutually-respectful work relationship between President and Vice President, in the supreme interest of the Nation and People.

Brics nations to take cooperation to a new level From Kester Kenn Klomegah based in Moscow

Experts on regional strategic policy have urged BRICS member countries to step up efforts towards setting up its own credit rating agency as an effective mechanism to consolidate the bloc’s new multifaceted spheres of cooperation. BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is currently working on a set of new proposals including the establishment of women business club and a rating agency, among others, for the 10th edition of BRICS Summit scheduled to take place from 25-27 July, 2018, in Johannesburg, South Africa.


As far back in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India called upon members of BRICS to take begin the BRICS credit rating agency. India has long held the view that a new rating agency would provide an immense contribution to the existing knowledge of rating systems. Since then, there have been discussions at several conferences and forums, the latest was during the special panel session on the future prospects of BRICS at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum late May.

“As a first step towards creating such an agency, we propose the countries offer their national agencies to form a network. Our partnership with one of the Chinese rating agencies, Golden Credit, could be used as a prototype of this network,” Ekaterina Trofimova, Chief Executive Officer of the Analytical Credit Rating Agency, said.

There are also similar views. “Many foreign countries most often consider or rate BRICS countries, enterprises and financial institutions get a biased evaluation. We would like to see more neutral ones that we can further relate to,” according to Sergey Katyrin, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation. It’s necessary to have unbiased ratings of institutions of BRICS countries as there are is open to the world and consistently expanding ties with concerned countries and seek integration into business associations, he explained.

Jayshree Sengupta, a Research Fellow from the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, India, thinks that BRICS want to have their own rating agency and are set to have it soon because the three international rating agencies Moody's, Fitch and Standard & Poor that dominate the world sovereign rating market have been rather unfair to BRICS members and other developing countries. They frequently downgrade them on unjust grounds and criteria that serve western political interests. They downgraded Brazil and Russia in 2017 and keep changing their grading about India, creating much uncertainty.

Sengupta indicated in an email interview that “their 'issuer paid' model of rating is biased and BRICS members are perhaps contemplating having their own rating agency on 'investor pays' model which may be more appropriate for their Emerging Market economies.”

While expressing the fact that the idea is highly laudable, Francis Kornegay, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Global Dialogue, University of South Africa, explained recently to me that “it has something to do with the global economic balance of power as to whether there is sufficient leverage among BRICS countries and other emerging powers to provide such an alternative.”

Kornegay specializes on global geopolitical and strategic trends and he is also a long-term analyst of global South and emerging power dynamics and US foreign policy. As such, he recently produced, as lead co-editor, Laying the BRICS of a New Global Order: From Yekaterinburg 2009 to eThekwini 2013 (Africa Institute of South Africa).

The BRICS economic growth rate is increasing. “Starting last year, all BRICS countries have demonstrated positive trend in economic growth. Moreover, we expect that the growth rate will be increasing through 2018 and 2019, especially in India,” according to Yaroslav Lisovolik, Chief Economist and Managing Director for Research at the Eurasian Development Bank.

Thus, a BRICS own rating agency has the benefit of reducing the dependency of sovereign and corporate ratings of the developing world on the verdicts of the “big three” referring to Moody’s, Standard & Poor and Fitch. “The fact that all five BRICS economies are to participate in launching the ratings agency serves as a wide enough base to create sufficient demand and use of its ratings compared to the relatively narrow potential of national rating agencies,” he explained.

In other words, an alliance among the largest developing countries is crucial in launching such an enterprise - on top of the possibilities of operating in the BRICS countries themselves and there may also be the possibility to expand the operations of such an agency to the regional partners of BRICS countries, Lisovolik suggested.

On his part, Brazilian Ambassador to Russia, Jose Vallim Antonio Guerreiro questioned how the procedures of existing rating agencies could be applicable to all economies. “The question is whether this procedure includes all the relevant factors. You may need to look for alternative indicators and broad approaches to assess the health of economies,” he argued. “I do not believe that the new agency will be something to resist the existing institutions. They do their job, and certainly, there is a demand for their services. But it is possible that the BRICS countries will elaborate a different approach.”

Some experts still cast doubts about the feasibility of the project. “As far as I know, this endeavour was considered too expensive and not feasible at the moment,” Professor Georgy Toloraya, Executive Director at the National Committee on BRICS Research in Russia, wrote me simply without detailed discussion on the topic.

But, an Associate Researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), who requested for anonymity, strongly suggested that the BRICS credit rating agency as a business project could be well-managed if given to India, or at best, to China that previously offered a larger part of seed capital for the establishment of the New Development Bank.

The Financial Times reported that BRICS countries have long deliberated on plans to establish their own rating agency along with the formation of the New Development Bank. The BRICS member countries (namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) collectively represent about 26% of the world’s geographic area and are home to 2.88 billion people, about 42% of the world’s population. *Kester Kenn Klomegah frequently writes about issues connecting Russia, Africa and BRICS.

NEW SONG AND DANCE

There is a New Song ‘n Dance, call it the Paradigm Shift from conventional to unconventional approach or method of seeking, acquiring and ratification of external financing - Loans, etc.- for national, socio-economic and political development.


According to the vibes from the new Weah Government, a government dominated and controlled by civil war and economic crimes suspects, loyalists appointed by former President Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the paradigm shift is occasioned by the failure of the proceeds from the conventional, external loans to finance infrastructure development, but ended right back to the conventional financiers – the IMF, WB, ADB and offshore salaries of their in-country advisors, etc., etc.

This includes massive corrupt leakages into the private pockets of the very same, present Liberian government officials in the form of overnight, rags-to-riches, mansions, hotels and related private business ventures, foreign health trips all at public expense; top-of-the-line automobiles, gasoline, electric generator and mobile phone scratch cards allowances with over-paid monthly salaries.

These government officials believe and hold that this time around, the proceeds from the unconventional, external financing with 4g instant ratifications and sizable leakages beneficial to the government officials will reach the Liberian people in the form of roads construction, agriculture, healthcare, education, etc., etc. But . . .

We wonder, seriously, where is the Change – Reforms and Improvements – in the lives of the Liberian people, especially, with the same such individuals as the “politically-connected Lawyer” indicted for demanding/receiving/dishing out bribes, Cllr. Senator Varney Sherman, legal counsel to LISCR; convicted, disbarred for embezzlement and “politically-connected Lawyer”, Cllr. Representative J. Fonati Koffa; Field Marshall, General of the INPFL who executed several innocent citizens without trial, now Senator Prince Y. Johnson; and many, many other civil war generals and economic crime suspects as General Charles Bright, etc., with the same mind-set ordained to massive corruption and disloyalty to the Nation and people, NOW Calling the shots!!

SALARY ADJUSTMENT IN LIBERIA: DOES IT DRIVE PERMANENT PRODUCTIVITY?

Reviving Liberia’s economy, which is still enduring lot of postwar socioeconomic challenges, and most recently the twin shocks of ebola and commodity decline, called for intense pragmatism. It is evidently glaring that the momentum of the economic impact is too severe to get the country at pre-war levels within the span of two decades. Few of our economic policies (especially those related to wages and allowances adjustment) often appeared biased towards political sentiments, which potentially risk the achievability of critical development agenda. Every public worker supports better incentive. In developing countries, there is often trade-off between high monetary incentives and financing of development agenda. I guess the wage burden on the government, which has been added year after year, is too huge to fully assume responsibilities left by donors and also settle the high wage bill.


Recent policy decision by President Weah regarding wage adjustment to mitigate the short to medium term economic stress motivates this thinking. Moreover, the thought of this article is driven by continued desire for salary increment without thoroughly predicting the economic risks of sustaining a high wage bill. One does not require a sophisticated modelling to detect the problem of how productivity in most of our public institutions lagged behind high wages in such a fragile economy. Since 2010, I pre-empted imminent built up of fiscal pressures from ‘high wages’, because the economic fundamentals aimed at propelling a sustainable economic take-off are not strong enough. I catalogued those issues in one of my commentaries title: Liberia’s economic nationalism: Be wary of Salary Increment.

The simple economics is that any small adjustment in salary impacts taxes (prices) and the expenditure pattern of economic agents (employees), although not necessarily proportionate to the rate of salary adjustment. Thus, the recent intention to cut current (aggregate) wages is welcome, but a better approach is to rationalize the current (aggregate wages) and avoid explicit upward adjustment in ‘current (aggregate) wages’ in the medium term. Decision to adjust wages downward is contravention to the theoretical proposition of Keynesian wage theory. Public workers plan their expenditures on expected disposable income (and other benefits), suggesting here that downward adjustment in expected wage could undermine the government intention by reducing productivity and possibly inducing rent-seeking. On the macroeconomic perspective, increased incentive for public workers indirectly reflects a rise in money supply growth, which could adversely affect the economy if productivity does not exceed the growth in money. This is precisely the picture of Liberia where minimum component of the money growth is usually directed to the production of quality output (capital goods) to ease high cost of living, or influence production, except for road reconstruction.

Interestingly, any decision to adjust wages cannot be divorced from the country’s economic performance to sustain the high wage bill. The country’s current GDP of about 2.3 billion USD is amongst the lowest compared to other countries with almost similar population size (See Trinidad and Tobago,
Botswana, Panama, Mauritius, etc). The external reserves remain low (inadequate to address macroeconomic shock) while the national budget is almost two thirds the size of GDP. The real sector remains underdeveloped with heavy reliance on exports of primary products (iron ore and rubber). Inflation hovered around double digit, albeit at heavy cost to the monetary authority. Foreign aid (budget support) as a proportion of GDP remains low. HIPC initiative was timely, significantly eroded foreign debt and created more fiscal space for increased public investments. Over the years, the country however focused heavily on upward salary adjustments, which is gradually becoming an unmanageable burden.

The statistics implicitly reflects the huge uphill challenge of resuscitating Liberia’s struggling economy. Compounding the problem, public workers still regard increasing incentive (salary) as the sole solution of strengthening productivity, instead of economic agents (government and employees) recognizing that productivity cannot outpace its full capacity limit in the absence of strong socioeconomic fundamentals (education, housing, transportation, energy, health) at affordable costs.

I am in concurrence with the theoretical precept that attractive salaries enhance employees’ happiness, accelerate productivity and minimize rent seeking, but not under weak economic fundamentals evidently visible in Liberia. The two components (attractive incentives and better livelihood) are inevitably integrated. A sound policy strategy for a fragile economy such as Liberia is to intensify development of socioeconomic fundamentals, which would enormously lessen the purchasing pressures on economic agents (especially employed household) and implicitly increase wages. This strategy could mean taking the direction I call ‘implicit salary’ adjustment. Implicit salary describes the phenomenon of making quality services available (especially in public institutions) at low cost so that economic agents can enjoy wide ‘budget space’ to seek better welfare (directly or indirectly) domestically.

It is absurd to hike emolument of economic agents (public employees) when good proportion of salary is spent on services (i.e education or health mainly from private sources) and food (money illusion). Amazingly, every employed Liberian (especially public employees, ministers, parliamentarians, etc) persistently seeks for higher salary/incentive. Less emphasis has always been put on implicit wage increment, which has greater welfare implications.

The prevailing economic stress on the government provides a good inference about the curse from high wages. Demand for wage increments could mean higher taxes or increased prices, and possibly reduced employment, which does not assure permanent happiness (money illusion). This shows that the country’s economy will continually be susceptible to macroeconomic threats (fiscal deficits, inflation, current account deficits, high unemployment, etc).

However, Liberia can still reverse the problem. First, Ad hoc Salary Review and Allocation Commission (Constituting professionals from civil society, religious body and former statesmen who understand the mechanism of government, economics and management) should be set up to review and determine wages for all government workers, including executive (president) and legislators. This Commission could reduce the political motive often associated with salary increment and employment.

Economic agents should embrace implicit wage increment as basis for permanent productivity through low cost ‘quality’ socio-economic services. Quality social infrastructure would implicitly boost wages via  cost reduction on household to acquire quality education, medical treatment, housing and transportation.

Those in the helm of public leadership should exhibit nationalism in the management of state resources. Workers should avoid strikes, because it only exacerbates the problem of increased economic uncertainty, whilst fixed resources (money) are available for government to pay workers.

More income should be generated domestically through sustainable investments for the wage growth to be sustained. The country should identify a specific threshold (hypothetically: 0.5% or 0.6% increase in salary after every three, four or five years) for future salary increment, but economic pre-conditions (hypothetically: increase in real GDP averaging 5-8% in every 4 years) for the increment should be clearly defined.

About the Author: Dr. Dukuly works as principal economist at the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) based in Freetown. The views expressed in this commentary do not represent WAMA. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Musa Dukuly (PhD)

 

SALARY ADJUSTMENT IN LIBERIA: DOES IT DRIVE PERMANENT PRODUCTIVITY?

Reviving Liberia’s economy, which is still enduring lot of postwar socioeconomic challenges, and most recently the twin shocks of ebola and commodity decline, called for intense pragmatism. It is evidently glaring that the momentum of the economic impact is too severe to get the country at pre-war levels within the span of two decades. Few of our economic policies (especially those related to wages and allowances adjustment) often appeared biased towards political sentiments, which potentially risk the achievability of critical development agenda. Every public worker supports better incentive. In developing countries, there is often trade-off between high monetary incentives and financing of development agenda. I guess the wage burden on the government, which has been added year after year, is too huge to fully assume responsibilities left by donors and also settle the high wage bill.


Recent policy decision by President Weah regarding wage adjustment to mitigate the short to medium term economic stress motivates this thinking. Moreover, the thought of this article is driven by continued desire for salary increment without thoroughly predicting the economic risks of sustaining a high wage bill. One does not require a sophisticated modelling to detect the problem of how productivity in most of our public institutions lagged behind high wages in such a fragile economy. Since 2010, I pre-empted imminent built up of fiscal pressures from ‘high wages’, because the economic fundamentals aimed at propelling a sustainable economic take-off are not strong enough. I catalogued those issues in one of my commentaries title: Liberia’s economic nationalism: Be wary of Salary Increment.

The simple economics is that any small adjustment in salary impacts taxes (prices) and the expenditure pattern of economic agents (employees), although not necessarily proportionate to the rate of salary adjustment. Thus, the recent intention to cut current (aggregate) wages is welcome, but a better approach is to rationalize the current (aggregate wages) and avoid explicit upward adjustment in ‘current (aggregate) wages’ in the medium term. Decision to adjust wages downward is contravention to the theoretical proposition of Keynesian wage theory. Public workers plan their expenditures on expected disposable income (and other benefits), suggesting here that downward adjustment in expected wage could undermine the government intention by reducing productivity and possibly inducing rent-seeking. On the macroeconomic perspective, increased incentive for public workers indirectly reflects a rise in money supply growth, which could adversely affect the economy if productivity does not exceed the growth in money. This is precisely the picture of Liberia where minimum component of the money growth is usually directed to the production of quality output (capital goods) to ease high cost of living, or influence production, except for road reconstruction.

Interestingly, any decision to adjust wages cannot be divorced from the country’s economic performance to sustain the high wage bill. The country’s current GDP of about 2.3 billion USD is amongst the lowest compared to other countries with almost similar population size (See Trinidad and Tobago,
Botswana, Panama, Mauritius, etc). The external reserves remain low (inadequate to address macroeconomic shock) while the national budget is almost two thirds the size of GDP. The real sector remains underdeveloped with heavy reliance on exports of primary products (iron ore and rubber). Inflation hovered around double digit, albeit at heavy cost to the monetary authority. Foreign aid (budget support) as a proportion of GDP remains low. HIPC initiative was timely, significantly eroded foreign debt and created more fiscal space for increased public investments. Over the years, the country however focused heavily on upward salary adjustments, which is gradually becoming an unmanageable burden.

The statistics implicitly reflects the huge uphill challenge of resuscitating Liberia’s struggling economy. Compounding the problem, public workers still regard increasing incentive (salary) as the sole solution of strengthening productivity, instead of economic agents (government and employees) recognizing that productivity cannot outpace its full capacity limit in the absence of strong socioeconomic fundamentals (education, housing, transportation, energy, health) at affordable costs.

I am in concurrence with the theoretical precept that attractive salaries enhance employees’ happiness, accelerate productivity and minimize rent seeking, but not under weak economic fundamentals evidently visible in Liberia. The two components (attractive incentives and better livelihood) are inevitably integrated. A sound policy strategy for a fragile economy such as Liberia is to intensify development of socioeconomic fundamentals, which would enormously lessen the purchasing pressures on economic agents (especially employed household) and implicitly increase wages. This strategy could mean taking the direction I call ‘implicit salary’ adjustment. Implicit salary describes the phenomenon of making quality services available (especially in public institutions) at low cost so that economic agents can enjoy wide ‘budget space’ to seek better welfare (directly or indirectly) domestically.

It is absurd to hike emolument of economic agents (public employees) when good proportion of salary is spent on services (i.e education or health mainly from private sources) and food (money illusion). Amazingly, every employed Liberian (especially public employees, ministers, parliamentarians, etc) persistently seeks for higher salary/incentive. Less emphasis has always been put on implicit wage increment, which has greater welfare implications.

The prevailing economic stress on the government provides a good inference about the curse from high wages. Demand for wage increments could mean higher taxes or increased prices, and possibly reduced employment, which does not assure permanent happiness (money illusion). This shows that the country’s economy will continually be susceptible to macroeconomic threats (fiscal deficits, inflation, current account deficits, high unemployment, etc).

However, Liberia can still reverse the problem. First, Ad hoc Salary Review and Allocation Commission (Constituting professionals from civil society, religious body and former statesmen who understand the mechanism of government, economics and management) should be set up to review and determine wages for all government workers, including executive (president) and legislators. This Commission could reduce the political motive often associated with salary increment and employment.

Economic agents should embrace implicit wage increment as basis for permanent productivity through low cost ‘quality’ socio-economic services. Quality social infrastructure would implicitly boost wages via  cost reduction on household to acquire quality education, medical treatment, housing and transportation.

Those in the helm of public leadership should exhibit nationalism in the management of state resources. Workers should avoid strikes, because it only exacerbates the problem of increased economic uncertainty, whilst fixed resources (money) are available for government to pay workers.

More income should be generated domestically through sustainable investments for the wage growth to be sustained. The country should identify a specific threshold (hypothetically: 0.5% or 0.6% increase in salary after every three, four or five years) for future salary increment, but economic pre-conditions (hypothetically: increase in real GDP averaging 5-8% in every 4 years) for the increment should be clearly defined.

About the Author: Dr. Dukuly works as principal economist at the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) based in Freetown. The views expressed in this commentary do not represent WAMA. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Musa Dukuly (PhD)

 

CRACKS IN LIBERIA’S “RUBBER-STAMP” POLITICAL CULTURE: THE CASE OF MADAM JEMIMA WOLOKOLLIE FORMER DEPUTY MINISTER, MINISTRY OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY

 

Introduction
“One of the several, critical challenges facing our small nation of less than 4 million people is the awesome, all-embracing and far-reaching Power of a sitting, Liberian President. That power is clearly defined by and enshrined in our Constitution in a Unitary-structured government, with supreme, executive (administrative) power duly vested and rigidly centralized in a President, during these 167 years of our existence, as a free and independent nation”, we wrote in an article entitled “The Power of the President” (Analyst Liberia, March 3, 2013).


According to the Constitution of Liberia, the head of state & government of Liberia is an elected President in whom powers of Democratic Executive and powers of an Emperor – political, administrative & economic – are vested. Thus, the Liberian Head-of-State is described as “Imperial President”.

The President appoints all employees of government, including political officials of the Sub-Divisions (Counties) of superintendents, commissioners, mayors of cities; town, clan and paramount chiefs, with all those appointed “serve at the will and pleasure of the President”. Judges, appointed by the President, are exempted in theory from service “at the will and pleasure of the President”, but are affected in practice.

Though actually elected by the people, but with manipulations by the powerful, Imperial President through the political process, the service and tenure of members of the Legislature are affected, manifestly, by the “will and pleasure of the President”.

Pattern of Behavior
Indeed, the appointed individuals – many highly-trained & experienced professionals - are the intellectual, academic, technological and socio-economic and political “cream of the crop” of Liberia’s elite who write, teach, research, study, analyze, prescribe and recommend, as well as manage/implement, the plans and programs that determine present and future directions of our nation. They constitute the upper and middle classes of Liberian society.

But, their lives – hopes, fears, careers, dreams, personal growth and development – depend upon and are determined, to a large extent, by the “will and pleasure” of one person who is answerable to no one, according to the doctrine of our Unitary Structure of government. Very few, if any, will or can muster the courage or “guts” to challenge “presidential power and prerogatives” or the “status quo” for fear of “losing it all”, including being labeled “trouble-maker” who wants to “rock the boat” and be ostracized socially, economically and politically.

Thus, the evolution and development of this pattern of performance behavior for social-cultural, economic and political survival, the culture of “see no evil, do no evil and tell no evil in society” at the expense of one’s honesty, integrity, courage, fairness, openness and “above all else”, allegiance, loyalty and patriotism to the Republic and people. Until Now, Madam Jemima Wolokollie!!

Until Jemima, there had been faceless “whistle blowers”, anonymous “redeemers”, etc. from highly-placed dishonesty, roaring corruption and related socio-economic and political iniquities.

Madam Jemima invited the attention of her superiors openly, politely, aggressively to basic public policy violations with facts, figures, names, dates, places and concrete examples, but ignored, disregarded and often threatened, she went public – to the press as the only reasonable approach for results.

We commend and congratulate Madam Wolokollie very strongly, with deep appreciation for her courage, “guts” and the “political will” at the expense of “losing it all” (her job, “indefinite suspension”) and labelled “trouble-maker who wants to rock the boat” (“insubordination and un-professionalism”).

Indeed, we are aware of CDC Loyalists’s unconditional welcome of the suspension of Madam Wolokollie as Deputy Minister of Commerce as President “Weah’s laudable democratic leadership, unseen before in the nation’s governance experience”.

For, the action is simply the continuation of political compliance, the Liberian Rubber-stamp Political Culture of inability to summon the “courage”, “guts” or the political will not, even, the National Legislature, to challenge socio-political indignities by the ruling political power or the Status Quo for “real change or reforms.

Africa: Making the Case for a Sea Change in Thinking

There is a problem in Africa and is a problem of the mind – a problem of how mental faculties are exercised. The issue is not that Africans do not think. They do. It is not that Africans do not have or exercise their intellectual capacities. The problem is not whether Africans are intelligent or not. The crux of the matter is in how Africans think, how they exercise their intelligence, and how their intellect relates to their social, economic and political relationships. The issue is not that there is a particular way that African people think or express their intellect. No, a variety of thinking formulations exist. Multiple ways of reasoning abound. The problem is in the kind of thinking that is pervasive; the form of reasoning that is privileged, incentivised, rewarded or celebrated.


It is pertinent to explore how Africans can change their thinking behaviours in order to foster African emancipation and emergence. African societies cannot continue to privilege particular thinking behaviours and expect a different course of development. Too often the emphasis is placed on challenging the way that westerners or easterners present Africa and Africans. No doubt, this is important. But enough attention has not been paid to examining and prescribing changes to the ways Africans present and represent themselves. A change in thinking behaviours of Africans has become a necessity.

Africa's fundamental malaise can be traced to its thinking culture, to the reasoning habits that dominate, drive and define everyday life and dealings. The manner in which certain thinking behaviours came to dominate discourses on Africa may be quite problematic, but the influence of thinking processes is evident in happenings and reactions to events across the region, in African politics and economy. Thus the way Africans mentally represent Africa and how they relate to others' thinking about Africa and Africans deserves scrutiny. This is because if Africa must experience a radical transformation in this century, African modes of representation must undergo a sea change.

There has to be a drastic shift, an overhauling of how Africans think about Africa, about anything African, indeed about anybody or anything at all. Or better, Africans must begin to challenge the dominant way(s) of thinking and reasoning formations in the region. Africans need to indulge in a rethinking and a reimagining of the world and the structures therein. They need to reexamine the idea of development, aids, international relations, foreign investment, trade, democracy, tourism, governance, education, Christianity, Islam, science, religion, and philosophy. These narratives and structures are culturally embedded. They come with some social and political undertones. Sometimes these formations contain ideas and impressions that are not always consistent with a balanced or an informed view of Africa and the African. Sometimes, they embody demeaning, degrading and exotic images of Africa or anything African. These notions constitute mechanisms that are used to legitimise and perpetuate stereotypic views of Africa and Africans.

So a change in thinking has become an imperative. And change requires a cultivation anew of thinking behaviours, intellectual habits that radically depart from what currently applies. These innovative and adventurous cognitive skills need to be stressed and emphasised in all areas of human endeavour so that they could yield the desired transformative effects. These thinking skills are critical, creative and productive. They have been categorised this way, not because thinking is such a compartmentalised operation but in order to underscore certain elements in thinking processes. Actually, these competencies are not exhaustive of the cognitive prerequisites for a sea change in the African thinking culture. Rather they are indicative of the direction that this important process could take.

Critical Reasoning and Finding Gaps
A change in African thinking culture requires critical competencies. An examination of claims and propositions is needed because it is in pursuant to such a critique that mistaken and erroneous representations – of Africa and Africans – can be exposed. Foreign missionaries, traders, military personnel and scholars wrote much of African history and defined the region and its people on their own terms. These definitions embody their knowledge but also their prejudice, ignorance, and bias. Critical inquiry is needed to highlight the cognitive limitations in these representations. Narratives of racial and cultural superiority underlie western and eastern representations of Africa, of African religion and politics. And too often Africans accept and embrace these narratives without question including the prejudices therein.

These structures need to be revisited and reviewed and their epistemological foundations and presuppositions have to be reexamined. Africans need to question beliefs, doctrines, policies, rules and regulations. They need to take a critical look at treaties and conventions that have been signed; policies and laws that have been enacted to guide international relations, secular and religious ideologies that are often framed as 'civilising missions'. These mechanisms are often used to conceal and foist foreign interests on African societies. They embody unwholesome impressions and images of Africa and Africans. A critical examination is necessary to expose these gaps and inadequacies and get these instruments to work for and not against Africa and Africa.

Furthermore, critical thinking is needed to highlight what is missing in existing inventions and innovations, in the available goods and services. Critical thinking skills are needed to draw attention to the limitations in all artefacts showing what is wrong with them, what is not working, or not working so well. what could be improved upon. For instance, critical reasoning skills can be deployed to identify what manufacturers and marketers missed, omitted or overlooked in the course of production or sales. While exerting one's intellect to find faults and locate gaps is important, these faults need to be rectified. A thinking behaviour is needed to fill the gaps.

Creative Thinking and Generation of New Ideas
Africans need intellectual skills that emphasise the generation of new ideas including new ways of thinking, imagining, explaining, presenting, representing and doing things. It is not enough to express discontent or dissatisfaction regarding the state of art or to register objections to the way things are. It does not suffice to point out faults and gaps in existing knowledge or artefacts, in the representations of issues. It is important to speculate and try to imagine new and other possibilities, to envisage things as they should be. Africans must tap into their creative ingenuity and deploy their brainstorming competencies in order to supply or at least attempt to supply what is missing. Africans must task themselves and strive to highlight what has been overlooked, bring to light perspectives and insights that have been ignored. For instance, the representation of Africa or of Africans in the media or in existing studies may be heavily biased, mistaken, or one-sided. Beyond stating this fact, it is vital to propose what the other side of the story is. Apart from finding faults and raising objections to mistaken ideas and impressions, Africans need to come up with ways of correcting them, of providing what is missing in terms of knowledge and understanding of Africa and its people. People of Africa need to task their imagination and intellect and come up with fresh insights into how things should be done. Meanwhile, ideas worth little if they are left solely at the abstract, as mere speculation and wishful thinking. For ideas to actually add value to life, to existing goods and services, another thinking skill is required.

Productive Thinking: Turning Ideas into Goods
This is thinking at the level of praxis. It is a practical form of reasoning. Or put in a business term, it is an entrepreneurial way of thinking. Cognitive skills are applied to step ideas down from the world of dreams and imagination to the world of reality, from the world of fiction and fantasy to the world of fact. This is a thinking trait that turns possibilities into packages. The intellect is exerted to concretise ideas and translate those vague and wild thoughts into actual products, into goods that serve particular needs, into insights that fill particular gaps in existing knowledge, into techniques that help solve specific problems and improve the management of affairs. One may have so many ideas of how to alleviate poverty, reduce unemployment, or eradicate diseases, improve energy efficiency. But not all ideas may work at the end of the day. Not all ideas are practical or realisable at a particular time and context. Not all imagined solutions end up as actual answers to existential problems. This thinking character is pragmatic and is exercised to achieve real results, demonstrate actual cures to diseases, and advance real solutions to life's troubles.

Conclusion
So, at a time that many countries in Africa are plagued with numerous socioeconomic and political problems such as wars and conflicts, poverty, drought and unemployment, the continent requires radical thinking and ideas. African needs transformative intellectual habits. Africans must re-think their thinking behaviours. They need to deploy their critical, creative and entrepreneurial competencies to recreate and renew the continent. Africans need to fault existing structures and representations that have been used to hold the continent hostage and undermine its emergence. African people need to generate innovative, reformative and revolutionary ideas and unconventional insights, and then translate these elements into effective answers and appropriate solutions to existing problems.

By Leo Igwe

President Weah & Vice President Howard-Taylor And Cabinet on Salary Cuts

The Ministry of Finance & Development Planning has submitted the “Pro-poor” Draft National Budget for FY2018-2019 in the amount of US $562.2 million to the House of Representatives in compliance with law. In presenting the draft budget, the Ministry says that “expenditure has increased, but it . . . is optimistic that the domestic economy is expected to rebound with improvements . . . in the mining & panning sector followed by the forestry sector.


Real GDP (Gross Domestic Product expressed as a percentage of all goods and services produced annually by the nation) growth is projected at 3.9% in 2018 as compared to a projection of 2-5% in 2017”.

Salaries Cuts
Earlier, on April 25, 2018, President Weah and Cabinet announced that they had “adopted several measures” consistent with his “pro-poor agenda” to enhance governments economic position in the effort to realize its objectives. “These measures include the reduction or standardization of salaries for ministers of government and heads autonomous agencies, especially, within the Executive Branch” of government.

 

According to the announcement, the Cabinet resolved that:

a) “No longer will any official of government, including heads of autonomous agencies make US $10,000 or US $15,000 respectively”;
b) “That heads of public corporations (State-owned enterprises) or autonomous agencies will make not more than US $7,800 as salary; cabinet also took a decision for a 10% salary reduction across the board for cabinet ministers, mainly those at the highest level of the Executive” Branch of Government”; and
c) That “the decision will take effect in the pending FY2018-2019 budget”.

Our comments
Indeed, we recognize, commend and are encouraged by the “guts”, courage and “political will” shown by President Weah and his team for the historic effort in attempting salary reductions. We are hopefully waiting for the results.

According to the New Democrat newspaper (New Democrat, April 30, 2018), examples of the prevailing salary levels disclosed were, only, within the Executive Branch of Government. The National Legislature and Judiciary were not mentioned. Those indicated were the following:

1. Managing Director, National Social Security & Welfare Corporation – US $300,000 Annual salary or US $25,000 monthly with allowances.
2. Auditor-General of Liberia – US $268,975.92 Annual salary or US $22, 414 monthly with housing, utilities, transport allowances.
3. Governor, Central Bank of Liberia – US $228,000 Annual salary or US $19,000 monthly with allowances. (The Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank is paid US $201,700 Annual salary with Deputy Governors at US $120,000 Annual salary.
4. President/CEO, National Oil Corporation of Liberia (NOCAL) – US $228,000 or US $19,000 monthly with allowances. (The CEO is a retired 20-year-employee of the Dupont Corporation of the State of Delaware, USA).
5. Managing Director, Liberia Maritime Authority – US $180,000 Annual salary or US $15,000 monthly with allowances.
6. Managing Director, National Port Authority – US $180,000 Annual salary or US $15,000 monthly with allowances.

The deeply-troubling economic issue is the impact of the salaries, benefits and allowances scales & levels for top officials of the Liberian government – President, Vice President, members of Legislature, the Judiciary, Ministers and deputies, heads of specialized agencies, state-owned enterprises, etc. – are bloated and exceedingly over-stated, particularly, during the 12-year rule Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. They (salaries, benefits and allowances scales & levels) must be reduced by more than 50% to reflect economic truth/reality and socio-political justification, given the prevailing condition of a small, poor developing country.

Moreover, research information shows, in general terms, that salary scales and levels paid to top corporate (private) and government (public) officials of top US and other developed nations are determined by (a), total, gross annual revenue generated by the corporation through the efforts of corporate officials (b), gross domestic product (GDP) of the nation and (c), level of scientific and economic achievement of the nation as justification of the nations’ ability to provide socio-economic and political benefits under these conditions.

But in Liberia, Political Rulers copy salary, benefits, and allowance scales/levels of top US corporate (private) and government (public) officials and apply them to the Liberian counterparts without any justification, whatsoever. The United States of America is a highly-developed nation, in socio-economic, educational, political and scientific terms. The nation has been able to put an individual on the planet moon, some estimated hundred-millions of miles from our planet earth; whereas, the Republic of Liberia cannot transport anyone safely, comfortably and timely to the City of Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County (where the scenic, tourist attraction of Lake Piso is located) only some estimated 35-40 miles from the City of Monrovia!!

The 35-40 distance includes, specifically, the ancient 20-25-mile “path” from the Junction of the paved Monrovia-Mano River Bridge to Robertsport. This path developed into the-now dilapidated, pot-holed, difficult-to navigate “Road” for safe, comfortable and timely travel, while the Shemans, Joneses, Shannons, Fahnbullehs, etc., historical political policy-making tycoons of Cape Mount County live in Mansions on Tubman Boulevard in Sinkor/Monrovia, Congo Town and Robertsfield Highway in Paynesville!!!.

About Liberia’s Political Rulers
Elsewhere, we observed that this Ruling Bunch (the Political Ruling Class) in Monrovia and other urban centers, believes that the nation and people owe it or that it is entitled to a life of splendor and opulence on taxes paid and other public resources provided by the people and others stolen from the people.

This Bunch includes, now, sanitized, emerged and emerging politicos who fled from the towns and villages of Rural Liberia. Pray tell me and others, how any man or woman of reason, in this poor, developing country of ours, Liberia, may one pay a Liberian citizen, living in Liberia, US $300,000 per year, US $25,000 per month or US $833.00 per day in our county in which the average Liberian struggles on US $1.00 per day? This, indeed, is political banditry, the cesspool of graft/greed and corruption, characteristic of TWP one-party state of the Republic of Liberia, since 1847.

No wonder that our country, Liberia, is ranked one of the most dishonest and corrupt countries of the world by World Political/Economic Watchers!!

Also, we observed elsewhere that the Ministry of Finance, now merged with the Ministry of Planning & Economic Affairs to become and became the so-called the super Ministry of Finance & Development Planning, the MF&DP is:

• Over-paid and over-staffed with Dual Citizens who live not in Liberia but travelled, often, to their foreign home countries at enormous cost. They are provided allowances for housing, electricity power generators and top-of-the-line motor vehicles, etc., although they plan and/or develop nothing.

• Historically, the Ministry of Finance has been, and is, the most dishonest and corrupt agency of government, known for its “get-rich-quick” schemes and theft of public funds; in that, all, almost, of the-now wealthy land and developed Mamba Point and Sinkor property owners are descendants of executives of the Ministry of Finance and its former section, Bureau of Revenue, now the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).

• The Ministry gives out huge sums of public funds to ghost or none-existent “educational” institutions, including the so-called “Private Sector Development Program (PSDP) through the LBDI Bank.

• Retains for itself, significant percentage of Social & Economic Funds allocated to the counties and others as the “Paymaster who must get something from the people he pays” and that the Ministry is known for delays, delays and delays for theft of public resources.

• Thus, funds allocated for legitimate claim payment are diverted, do not each the lawful claimants because the Ministry does not apply or consciously ignores conventionally-accepted practice of financial management and reporting.

Criminal Cartel at MF&DP
According to the most recent investigative press reports (Front Page, May 4, 2018), the MF&DP is, in fact, a criminal syndicate deeply-engaged in corrupt practices. According to an inside whistleblower, “The entire database at the Ministry (of Finance) is flawed. The system is . . . corrupt, if we use the database the government would not be able to carry out its projects because a lot of money would be going in the pockets of some corrupt workers at the Ministry”.

“The fraud activities in that department (Ministry of Finance) is often carried out through payment methods that land thousands of both US and Liberian dollars in the pockets of the members of the Grand Cartel operating in the department”.

An earlier Audit report on the Ministry of Finance showed that 24 borrowers who received the so-called Private Sector Development Program (PSDP) Loans in the total of US $965,400 reneged to make repayment; and that the same report showed that 12 “business organizations” received a total of US $545,700, but could not be found anywhere in the country nor the telephone contacts of owners.

This, in fact, is continuation of historical “Pro-Rich agenda” at the detriment of President Weah’s “Pro-Poor” dispensation. It (“Rich Agenda”) must not succeed!!

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