Finance and Development Planning Minister (MFDP) Amara Konneh has warned the young people of Liberia against allowing themselves to be used by politicians to prosecute civil unrest in the country.
Minister Konneh described the youths of Liberia as future leaders whose lives need to be protected to build the future Liberia.
He, however, assured residents of Nippy Town Community on the Old Road, of government’s commitment to providing basic social services, including safe drinking water, electricity and modern latrines for all Liberians.
According to him, the Liberian Government was doing everything within its power to address the many challenges facing the population, despite resource constraints and the crippling economic impact of the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) on the country.
Dedicating seven hand pumps in the Nippy Town Community on December 23, Minister Konneh disclosed that the installation of the Hand Pumps project was under the auspices of the Old Road Center for Intellectual Discourse (ORCID), appreciating the leadership of ORCID for the initiative.
“You don’t have to be rich before you do something better for yourselves or your community; you see, I am from a very poor family… a little village boy, but today, I am the Finance Minister of my country. So, all you need to do is have courage…do the right things and don’t forget to go to school,” Konneh admonished the youthful audience, indicating that the most important asset of a country is its people, and spending the country’s money on the people is of great importance.
“Water is life; and I can tell you for sure that the money we spent on this community hand pump project is not mine- it is government’s money…..your money,” he said.
About US$28,000 was spent on the Nippy Town Community hand pump project, and Konneh noted that the government used the money to pay bills to the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) on behalf of the community, as well as to fund the construction of the hand pumps.
“It is the people’s money. We paid the bills to LWSC because the people couldn’t afford to pay. I am your Finance Minister who once lived in this community, and so I can’t afford to see you suffering and do nothing about it.
The US$28,000 we paid to LWSC will be used to supply safe drinking water to over 50,000 people in this Nippy Town and surrounding communities.” He also pledged to invite the management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) to the Community to plant light poles and supply power to residents, urging the community leadership and residents to protect the pumps they already had. “Friendship and relationship must be built on loyalty. You must protect these pumps,” he said.
LWSC Managing Director Charles Allen, who attended the dedicatory ceremony, thanked Minister Konneh for taking a keen interest in promoting and supporting water and sanitation projects.
“I am very impressed that Mr. Konneh has taken special interest in water and sanitation, and I must admit that this is the first time I have seen a Finance Minister of Liberia taking such keen interest in this sector,” said Mr. Allen.
Earlier, the chairman of Nippy Town Community, Morris Varkins, expressed gratitude to Minister Konneh and Managing Director Allen for making available safe drinking water to the community residents.
Mr. Varkins assured Minister Konneh and Mr. Allen of the residents’ preparedness to protect the pumps.
He also named the lack of safe drinking water, lack of electricity and increase in criminal activities as the three pressing challenges threatening the wellbeing of the people of Nippy Town Community.
Also speaking at the ceremony, ORCID Vhairman Jessie B. Kayeapou thanked Minister Konneh and Mr. Allen for the hand pumps and noted that water and light were the two most important social services in the world.
By Edwin G. Genoway, Jr. and Lewis S. Teh