A local advocacy group, Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia or EFFL, claims the government of President George Manneh Weah lacks an agenda to properly run the affairs of the country, despite its much publicized pro-poor slogan.
“This pro-poor government lacks agenda, they don’t have an agenda, this is why things are going to way they have been in recent times. We want to understand, we want to read document or agenda that says this government is a pro-poor government, but they are not showing us anything to see”, says EFFL self-styled commanding general Emmanuel Gonquoi.
Speaking on a local radio talk show Thursday, 29 March in Monrovia, Emmanuel explains that EFFL’s aim is to create a decent economic environment, reminding that President Weah had said that Liberians will not be a spectator in their own economy, adding, “That is why we want to help the President to embark on this journey.”
He continues that EFFL would not be a team that people would disrespect, noting that the institution has well qualified individuals with good understanding with some of them teaching in the classroom, fully abreast of economic activities in the country.
“The President said that he inherited a broke economy, but we are challenging the President, because the former president [Ellen Johnson Sirleaf] said she left the country rich, all this current regime can do is do an audit of the former government to establish whether the country broke or not”, he argues.
He notes that in the recast national budget recently passed by the 54th Legislature, the Executive allotted US$200,000 just for feasibility studies, questioning, “Is it realistic to use $200,000 just to carry out feasibility studies for one single building, but we believe that the government is proceeding wrongly.”
He criticizes that the amount placed in the recast budget for the sake of conducting feasibility studies is just intended for stealing, noting that why would government cut down Health, Agriculture, and Education, among others and just dash $200,000 in the name of carrying on feasibility.
Emmanuel stresses that if the government of President Weah doesn’t show citizens some policy papers, how could citizens hold the administration accountable for any wrongdoing or misappropriation of government resources.
“We notice that all of these things were going to take place for the fact that the President had refused to give his agenda during the campaign period, and even refused to appear on national debate to tell the Liberian people what they were going to do.”
He claims the greatest insult the government has given the people is the recent recast budget in which US$ 500,000 is allotted to the office of First Lady Clar Weah, and that same amount to the JFK Hospital, a major referral hospital in the country.
“But we think the President embarks on this journey of becoming President to rain insult on the people, this is troubling; why would US$350,000 be placed in the budget for the President’s office just for consultancy, how many consultancy has been carried out”; he asks.
The 54th Legislature recently approved the recast budget at US$536.2million, with several austerity measures, including 100 percent cut in goods and services, amounting to US$27.4 million. About US$181million is expected to be generated for the remaining four months, March 1 – June 30, 2018.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne