The Liberian Economy Group (LEG) headed by veteran Economist Dr. Togba Nah- Tipoteh is suggesting that government needs to pay salaries in Liberian Dollars and collect taxes in Liberian dollars as a possible way of tackling the declined value of the local currency against the United States Dollars.
The group released its report on the current state of the Liberian economy, advancing several recommendations which may require taking hard decisions that could be in conflict with the lifestyle of the new breed of government officials that live in luxury.
LEG proposes that the Liberian Dollars equivalent of US$60,000 be stipulated as yearly salary for the President of Liberia; and similarly for the Vice President US$48, 000; the Speaker US$45, 000; Deputy Speaker US$40, 000; President Pro-tempore US$45, 000; Chief Justice US$45, 000; each Associate Justice US$40, 000 and each legislator US$36, 000.
The report further suggests that only the president or his designate, like the vice president, and the foreign minister, with an entourage of seven and two respectively, should be made to travel abroad on government missions.
It notes that the minister of finance and the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) governor with an entourage of two, respectively, should attend the ADB/ WB or IMF annual meetings.
LEG believes that Liberian ambassadors could represent the country adequately with the strengthening of the embassies; while legislators who are members of the ECOWAS Parliament can travel to ECOWAS Parliament with no entourage.
Additionally, LEG cautions that Liberians have to produce what they can consume and stop importing products that they could produce. It calls on Liberians to buy from Liberian – owned businesses, pay for services and commodities in Liberian dollars and for the government to also pay salaries and collect taxes in Liberian dollars.
In the report, the group suggests that mass poverty will reduce when Liberians begin to promote their local products and buy in local currency.
The group observes that too much Liberian Dollars is running after the United States Dollars, noting that for the foreign exchange rate to go down, Liberians have to prefer the local currency over the USD. For the Government of Liberia to be credible, the group suggests that it must lead in purchases by purchasing only from Liberian businesses what they can produce.
LEG also notes that the Budget must be designated in Liberian dollars according to the Constitution of Liberia, cut off all donations made by Public Corporations and Autonomous Agencies and direct such amount to the Government of Liberia Treasury and also revamp the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL).
LEG argues that the main problem in Liberia is longstanding and widespread poverty, with two-thirds of the children who should be in school found not to be in school, terming it the world’s worst record according to UNICEF’s Annual report 2017.
The group reveals that it is against the foregoing background that some independent Liberian professionals have come together to form themselves into the Liberian Economy Group.
These Liberians, seven in number, are scientists with extensive working knowledge about problem identification and problem solution with respect to the Liberian Economy and are prepared to use such knowledge to promote peaceful actions that lead to the elimination of mass poverty in Liberia.
Members of the Economic Group include Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh, Economist and chairperson; David Vinton, MBA, Finance, Vice Chairperson; Estelle Liberty, MSc, Economics, member; Amin Modad, MBA, Business Development, member; and Geepu Nah Tiepoh, PhD, Economics, member.
By Ethel A. Tweh–Edited by Winston W. Parley