The Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC’s) released its country scorecard for 2020 on Friday, November 1, 2019, with Liberia failing 12 of the 20 indicators. MCC uses the scorecard to qualify countries for MCC Compact.The MCC Scorecard measures a country’s performance in three key areas: economic freedom, ruling justly, and investing in its people. Countries have to pass 10 of 20 indicators and must pass the Control of Corruption indicator to become eligible.
Liberia passed the control of corruption indicator this year, but significant work is needed across Government and wider society regarding public perception of corruption. The scores this year will not affect Liberia’s Compact eligibility, which will be based on next year’s scorecard. The Government is challenged to work to improve in a whole set of areas.
Last year, Liberia passed 8 out 10 indicators. This year Liberia scores the same 8 out of 10 indicators but there have been some movements, which will be described below.Last year, Liberia passed inflation but failed Health Care Expenditure. This year Liberia failed inflation but passed Health care expenditure. The rise in inflation took Liberia above the median score of its peers.
Passing the Healthcare spending this year keeps Liberia at 8 out of minimum 10 indicators needed to pass. The Government said it believes there are significant opportunities for Liberia to improve its MCC Scorecard performance for FY 2021.It added that is working to ensure that ownership of the eligibility process is achieved at the highest levels of Government so that the right data can be reported in time to reflect the right performance of the country.
Key indicators to watch: Liberia looks to pass the Gender In the Economy Indicator next year. The passage of the Domestic Violence Law in August of 2019 was not reflected in this year’s score because the passage came late. It will affect next year’s score. Liberia also did not get credit for the protection contained in Liberia’s Decent Work Act of 2015, which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. The Government is committed to ensuring next year’s scores fully reflect these gains, which will put Liberia above the median score.
With these key legal protections and progress made towards gender equality, the Government strongly believes Liberia will pass this indicator for FY21. According to the Liberian Government, Liberia looks to pass the rule of law indicator because the country is just at the margin on this. Even on the World Bank’s ease of doing business indicator, the rule of law indicator shows no movement between last year and this year.
The Government said it is working closely now with the Judiciary to resolve long standing contract enforcement and rule of law issues as a way of improving the business climate.According to the a statement issued by the Government, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor himself has taken the lead to resolve these longstanding issues, setting up a panel of judges and experts to work with the Government and the Liberia Bar Association to deliver improvements in the country’s business and investment climate.
It said Liberia will push to pass the Education Expenditure Indicator next year. Liberia has also increased Government expenditure to the education sector over the past two years. In addition to ensuring teachers not previously paid are put on Government payroll, Government has also increased teachers’ salaries over the past year.
In the statement issued the Government said it will also continue to make direct contributions to public and private schools and other education initiatives. The Government is reviewing data quality to ensure the correct data is reported to the relevant third-party institution so that Liberia’s score for the Government expenditure on education reflects Government’s actual spending and commitment to the education sector.
It said it also recognizes that Liberia is at the threshold in several indicators and policy action is required to improve Liberia’s MCC Scorecard in those areas. The Government is reviewing regulatory processes and how these can be streamlined and made more efficient. Improvement in Government process would directly impact Liberia’s MCC score for several indicators, including Land Rights and Regulatory Quality.
“Additionally, the Government will engage third party institutions to ensure data reported is fair and accurate. While the Government believes the MCC Scorecard is important for securing a Compact to contribute to the country’s economic growth, the Government strongly believes the areas assessed are even more critical for ensuring the success of the Government’s Pro-Poor agenda” the statement concluded.