Documents in the possession of this paper are revealing that the man nominated by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to occupy the post of Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia or CBL is a Bachelor’s Degree holder in Finance, and nothing else.
According to the document, Mr. Milton Weeks is a 1982 graduate of the Syracuse University based in the United States of America, majoring Finance. Already, the academic credential of Mr. Weeks relating to the position of the Central Bank of Liberia is generating huge sentiments in certain quarters of the Liberian society.
His last two predecessors Dr. J. Mills Jones and Elia Saleeby hold academic credentials far above him, though he may have vast experiences, having worked in the banking sector both at home and abroad for a number of years.
Though the revised Act of the Central Bank of Liberia does not say anything about the education qualifications of an Executive Governor, it states that the management of the CBL shall be conducted by the Executive Governor, who shall be Chairman of the Board of Governors.
According to the Act, the Governor shall also serve as Chief Executive
of the bank, to be responsible to the Board of Governors for the implementation of its policies, and be in charge of the day-to-day management of the bank. The governor may, pursuant to resolution of the Board of Governors, delegate such powers to other officers. The bank regulates all banks operating in the country – private and commercial.
With such huge tasks, no one expects the CBL Governor to be at the level of a bachelor’s degree holder. A number of Liberians continue to raise eye-brows at Mr. Weeks’ appointment to the post. Mr. Amos Peters of the University of Liberia, reading economics, said though the act did not highlight anything about education credentials, modern world, with the advancement of the banking sector, is not just suitable for first
degree holder to head such technical post.
Also commenting on the matter, Madam Vera Momo of the AME Zion University told this paper on Monday that it was unfortunate for President Sirleaf, who prioritizes education, to have made such appointment.
Madam Momo then urged members of the Liberian Senate to immediately reject the nomination on grounds of limited education, noting that while is true that he may have huge experience in the banking sector, it does not qualify him to head the Central Bank.
r. Weeks currently serves as a Management Consultant with an Advisory
and Consulting firm. He is the head of the corporate directorships, which include Devin Corporation (Managing Director); Safeway Cargo & Handling Services (Chairman); Business Development Services & Incubator Inc. – The Marketplace (Chairman); Auriole Enterprises; Ecohomes Liberia; Du Investment Corporation; Du Development Corporation; as well as Member of the Executive Council of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce and Member of the Board of Governors of the
Central Bank of Liberia.
Meanwhile, the senate committees on banking and Currency and Ways, Means and Finance and Budget are expected to hold two separate confirmation hearings for both Finance and Development Planning Minister Boima Kamara and Mr. Weeks.
However, a Grand Gedeh County Senator has called on his colleagues, ahead of the hearings, to be more careful with the nominees. Senator Alphonso Gaye said at the moment, the national budget is experiencing a serious shortfall in revenue of US$69.9 million.
He noted that besides, the draft national budget for fiscal year for 2016/17 will soon reach the Legislature and it is predicted to drop to a little over US$400 million, representing 36 percent decrease over the approved budget of US$622 million for fiscal year 2015/16 and approximately 28 percent decrease over the proposed recast budget of approximately US$552 million for fiscal year 2015/16.
“I encourage the committee to thoroughly do a critical comparative analysis of the academic and professional qualifications of both the outgoing officials and nominated officials. The rationale behind this exercise is to enable the committee to determine whether the nominees can handle the current economic situation of our nation and enable us avert any future problem,” he said. Editing by Jonathan Browne