The Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL) is accusing President George Manneh Weah of an early betrayal of the people’s trust over the alleged reduction of allotments in key sectors like agriculture, health and social development services in the recast budget.
The group in a news conference held Wednesday, 21 March claimed that the recast budget and Mr. Weah’s economic policy are a betrayal of the people’s trust over claims that they seek to affect the living condition of the people.
EFFL believes that the recast budget was an opportunity and platform for President Weah to demonstrate his commitment to his Pro-poor Agenda and to show that his administration is going to put in place appropriate policies and programs that are intended to empower and lift the people out of poverty.
The group through its head Mr. Emmanuel Gonquoi suggests that the best and effective way to achieve this is to start committing more resources to job creating sectors of the economy that affect the livelihood of the poor and those at the lower end of the economic ladder.
Citing agriculture, health and social development services as key among those areas, Gonquoi alleges that in the recast budget all of these sectors disturbingly saw a reduction from the original appropriations.
He claims that these reductions are sending the message that the Weah administration is not committed to its Pro-poor Agenda. Mr. Gonquoi observes that the Weah administration is seen to be preaching pro-poor, but it is allegedly practicing ‘pro-rich’ leadership.
He argues that the agriculture sector is indispensably one of the most strategic sectors in job creation and ensures food security through the formulation and implementation of appropriate policies and programs.
The EFFL head notes that unfortunately, this sector sees a reduction in the appropriation in the Pro – poor recast budget just as the health sector.
He argues that former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s administration originally appropriated US$6,326, 429.00 for the agriculture sector, noting that such allotment was revised in the Pro – poor recast budget, leaving a US$5,321, 457.00.
But he reminds government that if the Ebola virus disease that killed thousands of Liberians did not teach anything, it taught a lesson that the health sector here is receiving less support.
As such, he warns that reducing budget for this sector is equivalent to suicidal and an act of sending people to their early graves.
By Lewis S. Teh–Edited by Winston W. Parley