The following analyses of Government/Governance and the claim of National Economic Stimulus together place inperspective our questioning conclusion regarding the critical issues raised.
Elsewhere, on “Government & Governance” we held that Raymond Leslie Buell’s Epic Book (Liberia: A Century of Survival, 1847-1947) published on the 100th birth anniversary of the Republic of Liberia in 1947 is, perhaps, one of the best assessments of the social, cultural, economic and political performance of the-then Liberian Ruling Class, the African-Americans known as “Americo-Liberians” who, alone, constituted the State Government and Governance.
Author/Historian Buell’s book was, and is, the comprehensive analytical answer to his rhetorical question, “What is wrong with Liberia?” posed in Chapter 2 of the book. The book is a detailed description of Liberia’s Political Rule – oppression, suppression with systematic denials of civil/political liberties and political participation in government based on indigenous, ethnic, age and gender considerations, undemocratic political policies of the past, more than 100 years.
Enforcement of these conditions which, now, includeemerged/emerging indigenous, ethnic Political Class, have accelerated, exponentially, with cumulative increase over the years at double, triple or quadruple levels of our social, cultural, economic and political problems of abject poverty, hunger, lack of education, healthcare, unemployment, human suffering, deaths due to curable disease and the recent nightmare of the tragic civil war.
The African tribal nation-state (the former “Green Coast”) which produced its food and fed itself, cannot now, feed itself as the Republic of Liberia since 1847, but depends upon and held hostage by Rice and cooking oil (our national staples) Cartels, foreign-owned entities in collusion with Liberian government officials and the tiny minority that benefits from the Cartels,although the Republic of Liberia has more land than people.
The critical issues in reality, now, go beyond the Rice and related food problem. It has been repeatedly proven, now, that an overwhelming majority of the nation’s eligible voting-age population is crammed in the over-populated ghetto-slum enclaves of this tiny Peninsula City of Monrovia. The people abandoned, are abandoning the land, Rural Liberia, in droves because there is little or no opportunity for educational training, human growth, development and economic upkeep; Rural Liberia has been, continues to be forgotten and isolated. Constituent County officials are not trained, capable leaders nor patriotic teachers, but surrogates of national “politicians” who, themselves, are not capable leaders nor patriotic.
Summing it all Up
“Our Nation’s Economy just crumbled . . . again”, due, apparently, to our nation’s political rulers/leaders have become crooks – rascals, liars, confidence artists, thieves, bandits, and murderers – who believe that the nation owes them a life of splendor, and that the taxes collected by the Liberia Revenue (Stealing) Authority should and must be the source of support for their lives of splendor, here in Monrovia.
But the fact of the matter had been, and is, that there are stealing, stealing, and stealing everywhere in government operations from top to bottom – Presidents, Speakers, Protemps, the Judiciary and all ministries and agencies of government with the Super Ministry of Finance & Development Planning as the most senior paymaster and thief-in-chief “who must take something from the people paid”, although this Ministry plans and develops nothing, but pays huge sums to none-existent entities, including itself and the County Legislative Caucuses.
Come to think about it, the streets, roads and“paths” in Monrovia that were designed and built some 45-50 years ago, but cannot, now, facilitate safely and efficiently, the almost quadrupled pedestrian and vehicular traffic 24/7 of today. It is, also apparent, that the motor vehicles imported to Liberia are concentrated in the Monrovia area with insufficient, inefficient, deathtrap-streets to ply, let alone the rural areas which are much more dangerous-deathtraps than Monrovia.
On top of it all, there is, now, loud outcry due to enormous economic hardship nationally, but one finds that new, top-of-the-line, expensive motor vehicles jammed-packed, bumper-to-bumper, on the deathtrap streets of Monrovia; one finds, also, that new two storied box-type (architectural eye-sore) store buildings with living quarters on the second floor in the ghettos-slum areas with minimum road/street access; and other modern mansions and multi-storied buildings are mushrooming all-over Mamba Point area, Brewerville, Paynesville, Congo Town and the Roberts Airport Highway.But where is this money coming from, one may ask?
Our guess is that the money comes from graft/greed, public/private dishonesty and, “above all else” corruption, the vice and international phenomena that the Liberian Ruling politicians have now monopolized as Liberia Corruption, Incorporated.
So much so that our (Liberia’s) former President and Africa’s first female President, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, described corruption as “Liberia’s no.1 public enemy”, but admitted inability to innovate corrective economic action. Now, in the light of the colossal economic failure of “Liberia’s “first democratically-elected female President” who was or is “Harvard University-trained economist”, but with significant negative records of female-corruption shenanigans, is it not likely to be said that females are more corruption-prone than males? You be the judge.
And finally, in our macroeconomic analysis written while in President Taylor’s Monrovia Central Prison in June 2001, entitled “Now We Printed the New Liberian Banknotes” (due to looting of banks and business houses by ACDL’s NPFL/INPFL killers), we held, in conclusion, that “our Economy just crumbled”, with a copy sent to the Central Bank of Liberia. It was a Mr. Nathaniel Patray, III, CBL Economist, who responded with dismissal of our analysis as “irrelevant academic exercise”.
Now, about the nation’s Economy of today, we asked the Honorable Nathaniel Patray, III, Executive Governor of the Central Bank,caught between explaining the disastrous variations of Liberia’s foreign exchange rate; his absence globe-travelling while the CBL was being raided by Police on suspicion of the disappearance of the 40-foot container with contents of reported billions of illegally-printed printed Liberian-dollar banknotes; the still-cloudy, unresolved use of US $25 million for “mopping up excess in circulation”; and his admission of inaccuracies in the CBL Economic analysis, according to his Press Statement hereunder attached.We paused for Honorable Patray’s macroeconomic analysis in answer.
CBL Governor Nathaniel Patray, III
CBL Governor’s Press Statement
Now the Claim: Stimulation of the Nation’s Economy
L-R: Hon. Cllr. Archibald Bernard, Presidential Economic Counsel; Hon. Samuel Tweat, Jr., Minister of Finance & Development Planning; Hon. Prof. Albert Chie, Senate President Pro-Temp; and Hon. Darius Dillon, Senator, Montserrado County.
The Government of the Republic of Liberia, as we all know, is struggling with the Coronavirus medical management demands (coronavirus’s) imposed upon the national economy, let alone stimulation (Economic Stimulus) of the aggregate national economy. But this is exactly that in which our government is engaged, apparently, with professional economic performance problems within Government economic advisors.
Elsewhere, during the past, in an article we wrote and asked the question, “where is the locus of the Presidential Public Policy Advisors?” because of embarrassing conflicts in Presidential decision-making. Today, we raise that relevant question but in different form of “what happened to the performance of the Presidential Economic Counsel, related Advisors, and the Senate’s and House of Representatives’ Research Aides and Advisors?”
For, these are currently computer-trained, highly-educated men and women with MBAs, LLMs, PhDs, etc. with some educated in Economics and are, also, highly-paid salaries with generous allowances. But recently, there have been, and are, charges and counter-charges in the Senate regarding alleged corruption payments to approve national economic stimulus request.
Economic Stimulus Reasonable, Inevitable
Indeed, the Economic Stimulus and request are as reasonable and inevitable, given the condition of the nation’s economy, as our question is reasonable, inevitable and demands mandatory, truthful answers at this point in time of the economy in the light of the Coronavirus pandemic and the following:
a) The recent reported disappearance of billions of Liberian banknotes unauthorized but printed;
b) The expenditure of US $25M authorized to mop-up excess liquidity, but expenditure for which there has been no accounting or explanation made to date; and
c) The most recent US $25M authorized to “stimulate the national economy” but, reportedly wound up in the hands of a “ Steering Committee (of Ministers) of Food distribution” of hundreds of thousands of bags of imported rice, gallons of cooking oil and beans to be distributed to Virus locked-down affected communities (they are, almost, nationwide), but reported results of the distribution or complaints by several affected communities and households indicate that the distribution was made only to selected households and that thousands of the affected were left out.
We have serious problem with this approach; in that, the process should have been consistent with the theory of Economic Stimulus but, apparently, it was not. Specifically, Fiscal Policy should have been utilized by increase of government spending, specific transfers and decrease in taxes, a policy action that increases households/consumers’ purchasing power nationwide, an economic benefit to buy more goods and services (demand-push) to stimulate the nation’s economy. But this was not done; instead, an NGO, the resident Liberia World Food Program was contracted to deliver/distribute the needed food (The Hot Pepperliberia, June 22, 2020).
.World Food Program Transport with difficulty of Road conditions on Ganta/Zwedru Highway
According to Press Release, the Liberia World Food Program “remains committed to collaboration with the Government of Liberia for successful execution of the COVID-19 Household Food Support Program (COHFSP) . . . for people affected by COVID-19 in Liberia. The program (WFP) is providing a month’s supply of food (50 Kg of rice, 10 Kg of beans and 1 gallon of vegetable oil per household from the Rice Import Cartel) for around 2.5 million most vulnerable people across all of Liberia. Transportation and distribution will cost approximately US $3.60 per person and covered under World Food Program budget”.
“Broad delineation of Roles between WFP and Government on COHFSP as part of Government strategy to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, WFP was delegated with responsibility of implementing the COHFSP . . . President George Weah has appointed a National Steering Committee (SC) as an oversight mechanism to ensure that COHFSP is implemented in the best interests of the affected populations. In line with President Weah’s speech and the Liberian Legislature’s resolution authorizing the State of Emergency, the COHFSP will prioritize the vulnerable populations and the first responder population to wit: the disadvantaged youth, the homeless, orphanages, senior citizens, people with disabilities, health workers, security personnel deployed in the frontline enforcement of the state of emergency”.
Estimated cost of the Program and Key Components: According to the WFP release, “the budget of the COHFSP is US $30 million, comprising the cost of the food basket (rice, beans and vegetable oil) costs storing, transporting, and delivering the assistance to the vulnerable households targeted through this program (WFP). These account for US $25 million directly from the Government of Liberia and US $5 million from the World Bank”.
The Foregoing WFP Description
The WFP Press Release provides a clear and validated evidence that the GOL/WFP alliance was not an exercise to stimulate to stimulate the nation’s Economy. That process (Stimulus Policy) involves the Ministry of Finance (Fiscal Policy) and the Central Bank (Monetary Policy), not a Steering Committee (SC) of Ministers for Food Distribution.
The several complaints against the Steering Committee for Food Distribution lend credible support for ours and others’ conclusion that the food distribution program was not an economic stimulus exercise.
We remind Fellow citizens to keep in mind that our current President is the young, newly-introduced individual to national, political leadership and, therefore, depends upon experienced, loyal and patriotic professionals for credible, realistic results, now, and for some time.