President George Manneh Weah on Wednesday warned his few confirmed cabinet members at their first cabinet meeting that he will not hesitate to dismiss officials who are not punctual in their attendance to meeting.
“I will not hesitate to replace anyone of you who will act contrary to this warning,” Mr. Weah told his first Cabinet meeting at the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Wednesday, 28 February.
He says he expects his Cabinet members to be punctual in their attendance, diligent in their dealings and humble always in their approach and dealings with the Liberian people whom they serve.
The president’s warning to his few confirmed cabinet ministers comes amidst debate he had also not been punctual during his state of the nation’s address, situation that raise questions as to whether he violated the consitution.
However, Mr. Weah opened his first Cabinet meeting reminding his immediate lieutenants of a 12 – year political journey in opposition that led him to the Presidency, after he was finally certificated winner of last year’s polls and subsequently inaugurated in January this year as 24th elected president.
He says the economy he described in his first State of the Nation in January is now his government’s inheritance, recounting that his government inherits a broken economy and a broke government with very high level of domestic and external debts.
“This is the economy that we now own. We can no longer complain about it. It is now our task to fix it, to repair it, to improve it and to derive and develop [policy] and programs and to take proper initiatives that will lead to its rapid recovery,” Mr. Weah said.
The former international soccer legend – turned politician also reiterated to his Cabinet that the country has low foreign reserve, depreciating local currency, high unemployment and a rising inflation.
But President Weah notes that under his administration, the recovery of the Liberian economy is a primary priority, while reminding Cabinet members that they are his principal lieutenants that must assist him in carrying out the task.
He says it is not only their challenge but also their responsibility and statutory duty to assist him with the task of [repairing the economy], warning his principal lieutenants to put the interest of the Liberian people first and develop policies and programs which will reflect the “Pro – Poor” concerns of his government at all times.
He instructed each of his cabinet members to do an assessment in their respective sectors and portfolios to produce individual reports that will set out the existing state of affairs that will contain a road map of short and medium [term programs] to address the issues and revert the current negative trend.
President Weah wants the proposed policies to be practical and attainable, given the government’s current monetary constraints, rather than “financially unrealistic” proposals.
He instructs his Cabinet members to submit their reports in two weeks to a special committee of the cabinet to be chaired by Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweh and consisting of Commerce, Public Works, Lands, Mines and Energy, Health and Education Ministries.
He tasks the special committee of the cabinet to edit the reports and make them into a single document to be entitled “An Agenda for Rapid Recovery and Transformation.”
He says the Agenda for Rapid Recovery and Transformation should be submitted to his office for his review in three weeks as of the date of the first cabinet meeting.
Following a review of the document by him, Mr. Weah says it will be submitted at the next Cabinet meeting for final discussion and adoption.
He says the special committee may seek such institutional and private sector assistance as may be necessary and affordable.
-Edited by Othello B. Garblah