President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf has expressed optimism that all that is needed to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections are conducted next year will be provided to the National Elections Commission or NEC, so that Liberians can have their choicefor next President.
Upon her arrival here Tuesday, 11 October from a World Bank conference on conflict, fragility and violence held in the United States, she told journalists at the Roberts International Airport or RIA in Margibi that what government has provided the NEC is an initial contribution to its budget.
The NEC had reportedly submitted over US$57m budget for the conduct of the elections, but received from government US$20m after the passage of the 2016/2017 Fiscal Budget. But President Sirleaf said government’s contribution to the NEC’s budget was not covering the “entire budget” for the institution, saying “we” have been holding meetings with partners whom have committed to support the budgetary process also.
Mrs. Sirleaf said what government has done was the initial contribution to the NEC, and Chairman Jerome Korkoya knows that government is working very closely with partners to make sure all the budgetary requirements are met ahead of next year’s polls.
She said some of the partners are going to make contributions in kinds, which include materials and equipment the NEC needs for the process. The President had earlier said the outcome of the World Bank high level conference was a mandate for those “of us” who are leaders in various countries to go back and focus on the root causes of instability which have to do with marginalization and poverty and how to deal with them.
President Sirleaf said her contribution was a call made for institutions like the World Bank and its financial corporation the IFC to do more for the private sector as well as the indigenous private sector.
The President expressed hope that representatives from the IFC will visit Liberia to work with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to look at the private sector and ascertain what can be done more.
By Winston W. Parley-Editing by Jonathan Browne