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Stop shifting blames

Former Information Minister Rev. Dr. Lawrence Bropleh is cautioning surrogates of President George Manneh Weah’s government to stop blaming others for the current economic woes here, suggesting the need to keep the conversation around taking Liberia beyond where it is.

“Stop blaming, it doesn’t help us to say who brought us to where we are,” Dr. Bropleh said Monday, 9 July on a local radio talk show.Dr. Bropleh’s comment comes at a time supporters of the Weah administration including House Speaker and member of ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Bhofal Chambers continue to find fault on the past administration of former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf for today’s persistent economic woes.

Dr. Bropleh recalls that President Weah’s current Finance Minister Samuel Tweah was a member of the economic team in the Sirleaf government, before further throwing questions if President Weah too didn’t also work as Senator in the Sirleaf government and vote for the printing of banknotes.

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The Former Information Minister says he does not fancy the blaming context, noting that “Ma Gorpu” in Garmue of Central Bong County doesn’t care how “we got to where we are,” but she is concerned about how she and her family can survive.

In further discouraging the blame shifting by supporters and officials of the Weah government, Dr. Bropleh reminds surrogates of the ruling establishment how former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s statement came back and hunted him during the past election when he said he didn’t have any power to do much, but he was a racecar parked in a garage.

Dr. Bropleh says not President Weah himself, but his supporters say the president is not responsible for the economic situations here and he has nothing do with them.

“Well, wasn’t President Weah in the Legislature? What part did he have to play? Who voted for the … reprinting of banknotes, etc, etc? We should not get into the habit of shifting responsibilities when it comes to governance,” Dr. Bropleh cautions.

He applauds the Senate’s decision to hold closed door conversation with some of the brightest minds here in terms of the economics of the country, saying he thinks it’s good.

“So I will caution the surrogates in and outside of government to shy away from shifting blames, looking backward,” he says and urges that they learn from the past, understand the present and engage the future.

Dr. Bropleh suggests that if there were mistakes along the way, they should not be repetitive, but there should be a shift of “digging ourselves out of where we find ourselves.”

The debate on Liberia’s worsening economic situation is intensifying here on a daily basis, with President Weah and his predecessor Mrs. Sirleaf having provided differing accounts on the nation’s reserve at the Central Bank.

At the start of the debate following Mr. Weah’s inauguration this year, he complained that he inherited a broke economy, but Mrs. Sirleaf disputed Mr. Weah’s account and said she left about US$150 million in the national reserve.

She instead urged the Weah administration to check the figures correctly. But matters continue to get worse daily with a sharp rise of the US Dollars against the Liberian Dollar, hitting as far as US$1.00 to LRD$160.00.

The Weah government is yet to claim control of prices of goods, with transportation fare charged without any regulation. The situation is compounded by a repeated discovery of alleged counterfeit Liberian Dollars being dumped on the market by others including Nigerians who in return take away the few US Dollars through exchange of high rates.

Meanwhile, Montserrado County Electoral District #17 Representative Henson Kiazolu says Speaker Bhofal Chambers “speaks out of limitation” when he blames former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the current poor state of the economy.

Speaking on a local radio station in Monrovia, on Monday, July 09, Representative Kiazolu says the speaker’s utterance is based on his limited knowledge about the economy, urging him to improve his understanding of economic issues rather than shifting blames on former President Sirleaf.

Last weekend, Speaker Chambers accused the former President for the current economic hardship the country is faced with.According to him, former President Sirleaf in the climaxing days of her presidency created “an economic gulag”, referencing a Soviet-style economic and militarily fashioned scenario that compels compliance on economic activities.

But Representative Kiazolu, who teaches Economics and Accounting at the University of Liberia, says it makes no sense for a senior official of government such as the Speaker to shift blames while the Liberian people continue to bear hash condition of the high cost of living.

He explains that former President Sirleaf has played her part and gone, so now is the time for forward match, adding that financial issues are hard terrain for Speaker Chambers.

Chambers in his barrage of criticisms proposes that Liberia should withdraw its currency from circulation and adopt only the United States dollars as legal tender note. But Representative Kiazolu counters it is a wrong suggestion that could further make the economy very terrible.

Chambers stresses the country should move towards a single currency regime, blaming the use of both Liberian dollar and United States Dollar as cause for “disastrous growth levels and stubbornly high and bad economy.”

Representative Kiazolu explains that Liberia does not have authority over the U.S. currency and the Government of Liberia cannot dictate how it should be sent here, when there should be reprinting, adopting such policy could drag the country into serious national security problem.

On Chambers being a strong critic of the past administration, Kiazolu notes that the CDC lawmaker had never been a critic of the regime instead, the former President.

An executive member of the former ruling Unity Party, Representative Kiazolu recommends that the George Weah-led administration should establish an ‘economic think tank’ to study the current status of the country’s economy for a better reform engagement in six months.

By Winston W. Parley & E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne & Othello B. Garblah

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