Several senior-level media practitioners, mainly editors and analysts from the Budget Office of the Liberian Legislature ended a five-day vigorous workshop here over the weekend on Economic and Financial Analysis organized by the Central Bank of Liberia and facilitated by the West Africa Institute for Financial and Economic Management or WAIFEM, based in Lagos, Nigeria.
The CBL initiated the exercise in response to earlier dialogue held between Executive Governor Milton Weeks and media executives on the need to help build the capacity of journalists to enable them professionally report on financial and economic issues, including the national budget.
A total o0f 25 participants benefited, including 20 media practitioners and five analysts from the Legislative Budget Office – two key professionals from distinct backgrounds, who are fortunate to directly come in contact with the National Budget based on their respective scopes of work: the media to make in-depth analysis and inform the public, and the Legislative budget office to analyze and make recommendations.
But they cannot perform their respective duties with limited knowledge or no knowledge at all on the subject matter hence, the relevance of the workshop. Capacity in any institution is very cardinal to the survivability of that institution, and that is why policy and decision makers should prioritize training in their various places of work in order to achieve significant progress.
In other words, we believe strongly that it is about time that policymakers whether in the private or public sector invest in capacity building in order to yield the desired results or performance output.
Lest we should forget, the National Budget is the roadmap to economic development and national growth, because it captures various sources of revenue and provides expenditure priorities. However, if media practitioners are not knowledgeable enough to comprehend, analyze and interpret budgetary issues, it could become disastrous for the entire country and citizens would be kept in darkness.
For instance, editors should be properly equipped to analyze and interpret macroeconomic policies and identify pitfalls, if any to draw attention of decision makers to engender corrective measures.
This is why we say hat-off to Executive Governor Weeks for making resources available and particularly WAIFEM for placing its rich human and material resources at our doorstep, for which we remain very grateful.
WAIFEM Director General Professor Akpan H. Ekpo and his team of highly skilled professionals should be hailed for leading a campaign to empower financial and economic analysts not only in West Africa, but the rest of the Continent so that African governments would be able to get economic and financial staffed with the best brains to improve governance.