A former Managing Director for the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) Charles Allen, says the national budget should become a tool for investment and growth in the country, noting that many times people, who control the budget, don’t utilized it for the benefit of citizens. “If we used the budget as a tool for investment and growth of the nation, we can be able to produce agriculture products and allow the economy to be sustainable like we all want it to be”, he says.
The former water and sewer chief made the assertion over the weekend while serving as a panelist at a three-day forum organized by the Governance Commission on sustainable economic development and growth, which seeks to provide electorate an opportunity on how they can make good decision in the up-coming presidential and legislative elections.
According to him, the budget is an operational plan of the government that reflects how it intends to collect and spend money that generated, saying “Let’s assume if they used majority of the money to consume goods and services that will not have a multiplier effect, but if you used more of the budget for investment, less of it will be used for consumption, which is administrative cost.”
For his part, the managing partner for Development Management Associates, Mr. Melvin Crawford, explains that Liberia had made gains in sustainable economic development and growth, but the problem is how to sustain those gains.
“If you will make gain and loss it then you are not making any progress as a nation; if you are consistent in making those gains then the Agenda for Transformation can be achieved by 2030, and that will cost for a professional, efficient, and well managed public service that doesn’t take all of the government incomes”, he cautions.
The 2nd Stakeholders’ forum with the theme: “Sustainable Economic Development and Growth”, in support of the national discourse on the role of electorate, expectations and challenges during elections, was held at the Corina Hotel in Sinkor, Monrovia.
Mr. Crawford continues that one of the cardinal issues is how to restore growth to the economy, adding that “From the development management perspective, we have the ability as Liberians to do very good plans, but the difficulty is sticking to a plan and being able to track progress made on that plan.”
He says as a nation, Liberians can sit down and come up with vision transformation, have national conferences, but if they are not sticking to specific plan, “We are not moving anywhere in terms of development.”According to him, in order to have political will on sticking to development plan, the pressure must first come from the public.
Mr. Tom Nimely Chie, a lecturer of Economics and Quantitative Methods at the Cuttington Graduate School in Monrovia, notes that government spends about 60 percent of the national budget on consumption, something which he says needs attention.
“If you spent 60 percent of your budget on consumption, there can be no development, what is needed is to encourage domestic productivity, which will lead to export; when you export you stand a chance of generating more revenues to sustain the economy”, he lectures The CUC Lecturer stresses that if the Liberian economy should improve, focus should be on tackling the agriculture sector, because it comes with many variables – reconstruction of bad roads to enable rural women transport their produce to market.
By Lewis S. Teh –Editing by Jonathan Browne