The opposition Rainbow Alliance has branded President George Manneh Weah’s fourth Annual Message as recitation of his previous Annual Messages, as it paints a gloomy picture of the Liberian economy of which it claims the government has no positive action to create hope for small and medium businesses.
Rainbow Alliance Acting Chairman Mr. Reginald Goodridge told a press conference Friday, 29 January that the bare truth is that President Weah’s annual message is plastered with restatements of promises that have not been kept, and brought forward for new achievements that are hard to defend.
“Contrary to the President’s statement that the country’s development agenda is on the right path, international integrity institutions paint a different picture. For example, the World Bank Economic Freedom Report has ranked Liberia poorly 165 out of 186 countries surveyed,” he said during the press conference at the Vision for Liberia Transformation Party (VOLT) office in Sinkor.
The Rainbow Alliance fears that Liberia risks losing a whole generation of citizens who are increasingly becoming hopeless, claiming that the change for hope promise of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change is sadly not mainstreaming this generation of Liberians but conscripting them into suspicious nefarious groups such as the Cuba and Porcupine Warriors.
Further, Mr. Goodridge laments that Liberia has an overburdening tax regime which strangulates business and investment and impedes economic growth, besides statutory taxes that are drowning businesses and making Liberians poorer.
He criticizes the administration for introducing a draconian and shadowy taxation scheme in the name of Tracking Fees which supplanted internationally recognized shipping tracking services such as BIVAC.
“As a result, importers and businesses have redirected their shipments through neighboring Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast thus depriving our economy of much needed revenue,” he continues.
The Rainbow Alliance claims that unemployment is peaking at a record high of 74.2 percent particularly among the youthful population, while businesses are crumbling with no positive action or policy to create hope for small and medium businesses.
Mr. Goodridge suggests that “the absence of noise in this country should not suggest to any serious government that indeed this environment is stable.”
“You cannot have a stable environment when people are unemployed. Unemployment is 74 percent, according to the latest report from the United Nations Human Development report,” he adds.
Mr. Goodridge describes this as scaring and requires any serious governmental institution to understand that having the bulk of the people unemployed and surviving on hand outs is deceptive.
He claims that three years following the inception of the government, it continues to say the same things it said in the first and second years, pondering on what hope is there that something better will happen in the remaining years.
Dr. Jeremiah Z. Whapoe, Political Leader of the Vision for Liberia Transformation Party (VOLT), says “this government has failed the Liberian people”
“To buttress his statement, we have provided indications that tell you that this government, what they have provided to the Liberian people is way far from the truth. In nutshell, this government has failed the Liberian people,” says Dr. Whapoe.
The Rainbow Alliance also criticizes the president’s Annual Message for being silent on the 8 December 2020 Referendum, mid – term senatorial and by – elections.
It calls on the government and Liberia’s development partners to constitute a national constitutional review committee to re-write the entire constitution to bring it in line with current social, political and economic realities of the nation. By Winston W.Parley