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The Reality of the Observation and Analysis of the Visiting Joint Parliamentary Assembly  (JPA) of the African, Caribbean, Pacific and European Union (ACP-EU) Mission. Recently, a team of Parliamentarians from the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) of the African, Caribbean, Pacific and European Union (ACP-EU) ended a visit to Liberia, highlighting the issues natural resource management, poverty and the country’s growth.

“Liberia is endowed with rich land, natural resources and biodiversity; a judicial management of these resources, taking into account the importance of environmental protection, as well as the needs of local communities, is essential to contribute to sustainable development, lifting people out of poverty and the consolidation of peace; but there’s a problem when it comes to connecting the people with their future prosperity,” noted the team.

A general analysis of Liberia’s economy by JPA ACP-EU suggested a pretty good shape of the nation’s economy, acknowledging improvements as compared to the past. In spite such good shape of the economy, according to the mission, connecting majority of the people to benefit from the economic opportunities was still a major problem.

The mission, through its head of delegation, Louis Michel, noted that vast majority of Liberian people were yet to benefit from the nation’s many economic opportunities (natural resources), but rather continue to live in poverty. At the end of its fact-finding mission, the delegation emphasized the urgent need for the Liberian Government to lift its people of Liberia out of poverty as a way of sustaining the peace in post-conflict Liberia.

At the office of the European Union Mission in Monrovia, Mr. Louis, Co-President of ACP-EU JPA, described the judicial management of the country’s natural resources as cardinal to poverty reduction in Liberia, underscoring (from its own observation) that our nation was still confronted with enormous development challenges and institutional constraints, ‘surmountable with the requisite political will among all the state and non-state holders’.

It was not better than said by the visiting EU Mission-this part of the African Continent is ‘blessed’ with almost all of the Go-d-given natural resources, but the management of such resources by those charged with the responsibility to do so continue to create unfortunate situations to keep Liberians across the country in abject poverty.

For a population of about four million people with vast natural resources, it continues to remain unbelievable, after more than a century and half, for Liberia to still remain under-developed with high illiteracy rate and abject poverty all over the place-quite astonishing. While the leader of the country may always be blamed for this socio-economic mess, it is also important to be rational in such blame-game not only because the president is the head of the nation, but the responsibilities we are all charged with in ensuring the proper management of our resources.

While I’m in total agreement with the fact it may not be well as it relates to the general well-being of Liberians across the nation, the reality is that those given the responsibilities by us as a people to be a component of the “Government of Liberia”-I mean, the Liberian Legislature, to assist the Executive and Judicial Branches in administering the affairs of the state, lack the commitment and sincerity in the accomplishment of targeted national programs announced by the President-whether in her inaugural  address or state of the Nation Addresses/ Annual Messages.

Since the inception of the administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, we have always had the County Development Agenda or CDA following which the County Development Fund or CDF is annually budgeted. Buttressing the CDF further, is the Social Development Fund of SDF which evolved as the direct result of the various Mineral Development Agreements or MDA signed by the Liberian Government with various concessions operating throughout the country.

The CDA-a list of projects and programs determined by Liberians themselves in the 15-political sub-divisions of the country, was intended for the counties to drive their own development initiatives, while the administration of President Sirleaf continues to concentrate on bigger national development initiatives, including major projects such as the Monrovia-Buchanan, Monrovia-Gbarnga and Gbarnga-Gnata Highways.

TO BE CONTINUED by 077755541.

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