The four Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) in the country call on the Weah administration to adjust in its governing process by focusing on domestic revenue generation and hiring competent staff at the Liberia Revenue Authority to boost growth.
In a nine-count recommendations to the government Tuesday this week, one day after President delivered his Annual Message to the 54th Legislature, sitting in joint session at the Capitol, read by opposition leader Alexander Cumming, the parties, among other call for the creation of an Import and Export Credit Facility to enable Liberian-owned businesses access capital and financing to compete and participate in the economy.
Mr. Cumming also recommends a review of all resources and tax policies with regards to ease of doing business as a means of making it easier to start new businesses and creating employment opportunities.
The parties want a complete remove or substantially reduction in tariffs and other import cost at the Freeport of Monrovia, stressing that this will lower cost of imports and correspondingly reduce prices of goods and services in the country.
They ask the government to remove all monopolistic and import restrictions in the economy, particularly on key import commodities like rice, noting that “Under this current government, Liberians are still restricted to the percentage of rice they can import in their own country. Enough is enough. Stop restricting Liberians in their own country and let them freely and fully participate in their economy.”
The opposition calls for a special Agriculture Investment Fund to provide financing to small and medium size farmers and agro-businesses to encourage and boost local rice production.
They argue that with one of the most fertile lands in Africa and the World for growing rice and other commodities, it is unacceptable for Liberians to continue to rely on consuming imported rice.
The CPP wants government to resume funding to and staff governance and integrity institutions with competent people of
Integrity, as well as review acts establishing various ant-graft institutions to boost the fight against corruption.
It further calls for investment in the Health and Legal Systems to address Sexual and Gender Based Violence, which the parties describe as not a women issue but rather a national issue.
The parties want government to declare RAPE a national emergency and institute immediate reforms to address its prevalence, lamenting, “Our women and girls are dying.”
Meanwhile, the CPP recommends that government should reduce its wage bill and increase public investments.
It recalls that in 2019, the government invested only US$27M in the economy, which is far below the estimated US$150M annual investments needed to stimulate economic growth.
It stresses that if President George Weah can cut back on lavish foreign trips and riding private jet, high wage bill, and end corruption, it would leave more funds for increased public investment.
“If these recommendations and others are considered and fully implemented, we assure you that Liberians will move from being spectators to starting players in their own economy and that the state of our nation will become STRONGER”, the parties conclude. Story by Jonathan Browne