Liberians are no doubt a resilient people, who come together to addressing a common problem that threaten their wellbeing nationally. A case in point, Liberians stood in a united front and defeated the dealy Ebola virus in 2015.
We have not seen that same resilence since President Weah announced the first case of the COVID-19 in the country a week ago followed by subsequent cases. We see a national leadership void here on this pandemic that is ravagting countries around the world with death toll now already hitting 400,000.
One patriotic Liberian and former official who has stood up to suggest a way forward is Dr. Nathaniel Barnes, ex-minister and ambassador.
Dr. Barnes warns that it could get worse in Liberia due to lack of capacity and global impact both on the social and economic fronts unless government embarks immediately on series of stimulus packages to save the population from obvious starvation and death.
He stresse the need to incent and subsibize business people, especially importers of rice, the nation’s staple and other basic commodities. He recommends tax waiver for rice importers in order to avoid hoarding and price hike so the commodity can reach the most vulnerable.
The Liberian economist further suggests government, thru the Central Bank suspends payment on loans by commercial banks and pay civil servants, including those sent on compulsory leave.
The Weah administration has not indicated which way it is taking the economy that could no doubt, negatively impact citizens’ lives besides the Coronavirus.
The authorities here are pre-occupied with locking down, including closure of schools, churches, and mosques than looming economic consequences that may soon hit the population.
Even the Liberian Senate has called on President Weah to take charge of the pandemic himself, rather than leaving the situation with his officials. While infection may slow for now, the rate of contacts is rapidly incraesing, which shows a looming calamity is ahead.
We could not have agreed with Grand Kru County Senator Doctor Peter Coleman, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, any better. President Weah should switch from being a backbencher in the current crisis and take charge.