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GeneralLiberia news

5 years ago

-Weah’s first Annual Message in review as he addresses nation today

By Jonathan Browne

President George Manneh Weah delivered his first State of the Nation Address to the First Sitting of the 54th Legislature on Monday, January 29, 2018, unfortunately just one week after he assumed office, a task that was imposed on him by Article 58 of the Constitution despite having no direct involvement with revenue and expenditure for the period reported, which was under his predecessor Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

But if the grim state of the economy he painted in the presence of Madam Sirleaf herself at the Capitol Building is anything to go by, Mr. Weah and his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) had a rough takeoff.

The government inherited a significant revenue decline from the Sirleaf Administration, as President Weah reported total revenues collected from 2017, that was also elections’ year at US$489.1 million, a 13 percent decline from 2016, which was US$565.1 million.

“I cannot vouch for the accuracy or completeness of this information, in the absence of verification by a full and proper audit conducted by a competent authority”, he reported.

President Weah bluntly told members of the first branch of government that the state of the economy that he inherited leaves a lot to be desired, saying “This is plain for all to see, for we are all affected by it. Our economy is broken, our government is broke, our currency is in free-fall, inflation is rising, unemployment is at an unprecedented high, and our foreign reserves are at an all-time low.”

But he was resolved to changing the ugly picture around, using the four pillars of his government’s development roadmap, the Pro-poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity, PAPD for short, as working tools.

The President then laid out the four pillars of the PADP as Pillar One: Power to the people; Pillar two: Economy and Jobs; Pillar Three: Sustaining the Peace and Pillar Four: Governance and Transparency.

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The heartbeat of his agenda as he announced and still maintains, is road connectivity across the country, including an overly ambitious coastal highway from Buchanan, Grand Bassa county, to Harper, Maryland county, aimed at connecting counties in Southeast Liberia to rest of the country.

However, as first step towards salvaging the broken economy, the President announced a 25 percent in his salary and benefits and directed that said cuts be returned to the government Consolidated Account for reappropriation as may be deemed expedient.

Since 2018, the economy under President Weah has grown incrementally, by 3.6 percent from negative 3 percent in 2020, and growth for the year ended was projected at 4.7 percent, through increased agricultural and public investments in social compact program, while in nominal value, it expanded by more than US$300 million in 2021, with inflation reduced to less than 6 percent in November 2021, from 13.1 percent in December 2020.

This upward trend of the economy may likely continue steadily, as President Weah is expected to address the Sixth Sitting of the 54th Legislature in Joint Session on Monday, January 30, which is his last Annual Message before seeking re-election in October. 

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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