President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf has called for “mutual respect” among her Cabinet Ministers, in her quest to see everybody feel that they are part of what government wants to achieve in the last few months before expiring in January 2018.
At the opening of the Sirleaf led government’s final Cabinet Retreat in Julijuah, Bomi County on Thursday, 30 March, President Sirleaf urged Cabinet members to show courtesy to each other on grounds that “it’s not good enough for a minister to go [to] see another minister and the visiting minister doesn’t see the other, only to be told “I cannot see you”.
“We want to ask you to have more in terms of coordination … that’s been one of our chief shortcomings. People not talking to each other; people not communicating with each other; people not sharing with each other,” President Sirleaf said.
As government embarks upon the last mile of its activities, President Sirleaf says she trusts that each of her Cabinet members would bring a very strong determination and much stronger effort to get the results that government wants.
President Sirleaf who was joined by her vice president Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai at the retreat, has asked her officials to commit to achieving the programs set before them and the goals that will be set in the last few months.
Line ministries and agencies are making reports to Cabinet on the President’s farm, while also advancing key areas of targets that they believe could be achieved before the end of the current administration.
The head of the President’s Delivery Unit or PDU, Dr. Clarence Moniba listed key government accomplishments to include the turning on of turbines at the Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant, construction of Redlight to Gbarnga asphalt paved road, the Caldwell Road and construction of housing estates for low income earners, among others.
Surrounding distribution of energy, Dr. Moniba said by October, there was an assumption that 55,000 plus connection would have been done, and further announced the commitment of the Liberia Electricity Corporation or LEC to connect 1800 homes every month.
Dr. Moniba reported that a contractor has been engaged to pre-finance the construction of the 12th Street to Kesselly Boulevard Bridge construction.
Responding to some essential issues, President Sirleaf said essentially land dispute has been resolved in the southeast where she visited recently through collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Superintendents and Golden Veroleum Liberia which enables the company to talk about dedicating 80 ton oil palm processing mill in July.
While acknowledging newly dedicated marine crafts equipment at the Port of Sinoe, President Sirleaf, however, said the port still needs a lot if it is truly going to be used for the export of Golden Veroleum Liberia or GVL product. She said it needs dredging, removal of all the wrecks and work needs to be done on a faulty bridge leading to the port.
But National Port Managing Director Mr. David Williams clarified that an expression of interest has been put out with respect to the rehabilitation of the Sinoe Port, and some companies have expressed interest in developing the port.
Public Works Minister Mr. Gyude Moore says corruption and bureaucratic challenges are not holding Liberia back, but the lack of roads and infrastructure. He told the retreat that US$2.6 billion is required to do all of the road network connections here, and it could take Liberia 17 years to achieve given its budget size.
Mr. Moore has suggested the need to consider paving Liberian roads with concrete instead of asphalt, on grounds that concrete pavements are 50 years guarantee without major challenges for maintenance, compared to asphalt paved roads.
Having reported losses amounting to about US$1.5m to power theft every month, the new LEC Managing Director Mr. Foday Sackor suggested that the entity was considering the need of migrating from the old meters issued out to customers to digital meters, and sale of units via scratch cards to enable the corporation generate actual revenues.
Mr. Sackor says closed to 120 arrests have been made over power theft, but Liberia’s energy laws consider power theft a misdemeanor, weakening prosecution of suspects.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah