By Lincoln G. Peters
President Joseph Nyumah Boakai says Liberia’s current public debt stock stands at US$2.21 billion, an increase of 8.67% compared to previous debt stock.
“The stock of public debt at End-December 2023 stood at US$2.21 billion, an increase of 8.67 percent compared to end-December 2022 stock of US$2.08 billion,” Amb. Boakai said in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, 29 January 2024.
He said this represents a sharp increase of US$1.33 billion compared to the end of December 2017 stock of US$878.17 million (representing 601.8 percent rise).
According to him, the country’s current debt burden has grown astronomically, adding that certainly, the rescue mission was a necessity for Liberia’s transformation.
“As I am speaking, Liberia is under sanction for lack of payment of dues to the African Union and the African Development Bank,” said Amb. Boakai.
Also, he noted that a default in payment of about US$650,000 to the European Investment Bank is preventing a disbursement of over US$13 million for the Sanniquellie-Loguato road.
Amb. Boakai further indicated that his administration will reintroduce the Fiscal Rules and Travel Ordinance in addition to other measures to help address waste and abuse and ensure the return of prudent fiscal management.
He assured Liberians that his administration will ensure that the executive leads by example.
“Agriculturally, Liberia is endowed with abundant natural resources. With over 40% of West Africa’s rainforest, our country is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna that should help provide economic and agricultural growth opportunities,” said Amb. Boakai.
He stated that Liberia is also a leader in the discussion on climate change mitigation, further emphasizing the importance of international partnerships for sustainable agricultural production and development.
Mr. Boakai stressed the importance of recognizing that the available arable land is underutilized, committing his government to harness the right resources, and strengthening collaboration with international partners and local farmers to improve production.
Providing his legislative agenda for Liberia, Amb. Boakai told the Legislature that his legislative agenda is aimed at working with lawmakers in doing the business of the people for which proposed legislation will be submitted in the coming months.
He stated that they will focus on shaping the outcomes they desire from their development agenda.