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GeneralLiberia news

Agriculture and research nominees lack qualifications

By Judoemue M. Kollie

On Tuesday, January 20, 2024, President Joseph Nyumah Boakai nominated additional officials to positions in government affecting several ministries and agencies including the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Agriculture Research Institute. 

Those nominated by the Liberian leader for the MoA and CARI include , David K. Akoi Deputy Minister for Planning and Development, Antionette F. Dukuly, Minister of Administration, Moses R. Gbanyan, Deputy Minister for Regional Development Research and Extension, and Solomon C. Hedd-Williams, Deputy Minister for Technical Services. Others are Edward B. Perry, Assistant Minister for Extension, Folton Blasin, Assistant Minister for Administration,  Zogbo Luther, Assistant Minister for Technical Services and Francis F.B. Mulbah, Assistant Minister for Planning and Policy.  Lastly, Joseph Toumed, Deputy Director for the Central Agriculture Research Institute all pending confirmation by the Senate.

However, research conducted by this reporter shows that two of the nominees, including, David K. Akoi and Joseph Toumed do not have the requisite qualifications and track records of experience in working with the ministry of agriculture and the research institute.

The nominee for the position of Deputy Minister for Planning and Development has an experience as Director of Internal Audit at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) with a demonstrated experience of working as an accountant and other related financial qualifications. While, the Deputy Director nominee for CARI information shows  that he is serving or has served as Assistant Economist of Finance and Planning and Economic Development. However, information on his Facebook page indicates that he works or has worked in the area of agriculture at the University of Liberia.

If confirmed, the Deputy Minister for Planning and Development will have the responsibility to provide policy advice to the minister on agricultural economic issues and engage in strategic planning and sector coordination in order to promote and stimulate development in agriculture. Additionally, he will also be responsible for coordinating the activities of planning of the various divisions and projects of the Ministry of Agriculture.

As regards the Deputy Director position at CARI, the administrative structure of the research institute calls for a deputy director for research. If the nominee is confirmed he will definitely work with the Director General to conduct, monitor scientific research for agricultural development. The Act that establishes the Research Institute mandates that the Director General for CARI must be one with a PHD in agriculture and research.

But it is observed that since the act came into being some directors have served without the requisite qualifications.

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Stakeholders of the agricultural sector have been giving descending views about the qualifications and experience of the nominees in question.

Some believe that perhaps in the wisdom of the president the nominees’ financial backgrounds are intended to ensure prudent financial management at the both institutions when confirmed.

The chairman of the ECOWAS Non States Actors Coalition H. Augustus Roberts said that though the nominees assignment technically is implied, maybe it is necessary for the basis of good financial management.

“The Deputy Minister for Planning and Development will need to closely monitor financial transactions for donor projects at the Ministry. Maybe it is the reason why the President made the appointment,” he said.

However, Roberts said that there was a need for key officials of the ministry to have thorough understanding about agricultural policies and programs.

Roberts made mention of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) for food and nutrition security, the Liberia Agriculture Sector Investment Plans (LASIP) framework ïand others policies as some of those policies the government through the ministry needs to ensure as priority.

The former Deputy Minister for Planning and Development at the MoA, Roberts Fagans said the planning department at the ministry is a strategic area at the ministry that requires the right individual to move the agriculture sector forward. 

He said that the ministry is behind in so many ways and will require proper planning.

According to him, there are some interventions that the ministry had made over the years which were not necessary.

“The ministry will need to stop wasteful spending. The deputy minister for planning is key. He must have an understanding of agriculture to develop the right policies and programs for the ministry,” he said.

Former deputy minister Fagans resigned his position a few years ago. However, the reason for his resignation is not yet known.

For his part, the former Deputy Minister for Regional Development Research and Extension Thomas Gbokie expressed the need for qualified individuals to be placed in positions at the research institute.

“We will need people who have the requisite qualifications for positions at CARI. The research institute has been down for some times and so this government has to pay more attention to it. Having a deputy minister who does not know the issue about agriculture is still a problem”, Gbokie said.

However, Gbokie admitted that the deputy minister can help in the area of finance.

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One Comment

  1. Wow is my first time see unqualified nominee thank for his rejection now I have Abit confident in senator, which school no can failed all can passed something those guys don’t really qualified like the commence ministry no experience in government but because interested okay ooo we are watching in as silent partysan of up in Jacob town, look at Lta and lottery position okay thanks God for hon yekeh kolubah exposing but u people calling him crazy man today, but he told Liberian that George weah was going to be one term president u all so soon again forgotten!!!
    From hon ,Eric zic Michael.0778218611.

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