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Editorial

Not only have the Finance ministered Alone, But…

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The unfavorable economic situation in which Liberia is currently engulfed continues to make life unbearable of many Liberians. While some are blaming such continuous situation on the inability of the country to export, others are harboring various beliefs. At the middle of it all, the Government of Liberia, itself, may just not be financially upright due to the continuous budgetary shortfall/deficit it is experiencing.  The Ministry of Finance, through Minister Amara Konneh, a few weeks ago announced a budget deficit of US$47m for 2013/2014- a crisis that continues to raise eye-brows in certain quarters of the Liberian society.

Primary and practical among the factors attributed to the budgetary shortfall was the inability of the Ministry of Finance to generate the necessary revenue in accordance with the budget. As the result of the situation, the Ministry of Finance and Minister Amara Konneh are being solely blamed.  Mr. Konneh and his team are currently due to answer to contempt charges before the Supreme Court of Liberia and the Legislature. Just recently, some members of the Legislature, most especially the House of Representatives called for the minister’s resignation owing to his inability to deal with the situation despite commitments by him to do so.

If we must all be truthful to our consciences, there would absolutely be no reason for some members of the Legislature to blame the Ministry of Finance and Minister Konneh for the current situation, when, in fact, they have greater position of the blame. It is no secret that following the submission of the 2013/2014 budget to that “august” body, they (lawmakers) chose to add more than US$30m, under the guise of ‘additional revenue sources’. Such addition was also characterized by increment in their benefits.

This decision by the Lawmakers, in all fairness, was not on the basis of reality, but assumption- in terms of the “technical know-how” in the area of revenue generation. What they assumed was, was not the reality- yet still they insisted and today, our nation finds itself in an unfortunate economic mess.

While the Minister of Finance and team may shoulder the responsibility for the current budget shortfall that resulted to difficulties in the country, the Lawmakers also share greater portion of this economic mess. Had they just known that including the so-called additional sources of revenue was the wrong decision, owing to the fact that accessing revenue from such sources was the impossible reality, our country would not have been through such unfavorable situation for the second fiscal year running. Let us not only blame Amara Konneh alone; our Lawmakers, too, must be blamed for the current budget deficit being experienced by the government.

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