With barely two years to the exit of the Sirleaf administration, Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Amara Konneh, has given his opinion here about the next government that should come to power after general and presidential elections in 2017.
Konneh, who dodged questions about his next political move after 2017, told the state-owned Liberia Broadcasting System or LBS’ live program “Bomber Show” Wednesday that he envisages a government that does not harass citizens for speaking their minds, noting that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has already set the bar for free speech in the country.
Asked whether he has been holding talks with the opposition Liberty Party of Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine or supports Vice President Joe Boakai’s bid for the Presidency in the next elections, Konneh did not provide any clear answer, but said he would like to see a focused government for Liberia that would prioritize roads, development, children’s welfare and national reconciliation.
According to him, he enjoys his work as Minister of Finance, saying “I think my political naivety has worked for me.” “Giving our history”, he emphasized, “We need to do a lot to move forward.”
He said too much criticisms and talking would not help the country, but genuine reconciliation and unity. However, he challenged that as a government, those in leadership should be brave enough to discuss failures, not necessarily being against the administration.
Turning to the economy, Konneh described himself as a shock absorber, who takes the uncertainties and sudden global changes that affect poor countries like Liberia. He said the economy of Liberia had being growing steadily between 6 to 7 percent, but due to the Ebola outbreak in 2014, coupled with drop in the global prices of iron ore and rubber, two key commodities, it has plummeted to 0.48 percent with two major concession companies, Arcelor Mittal and China Union experiencing loses and are on the verge of laying off staff, mostly Liberians.
By Jonathan Browne