Liberian President Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai says regular audits will be a culture across all branches of government, not only the Executive.
Mr. Boakai’s anti-corruption campaign message was re-emphasized in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered at the Capitol on Monday, 29 January 2024 in Monrovia.
Liberia’s Legislative and Judicial branches have over the years been avoided by auditors despite public outcry for all public offices to account for taxpayers’ money.
Much of the pressure for accountability has been on the Executive branch, even at a time when lawmakers now allot funds in the national budget to enable individual legislators to finance projects in their constituencies that should be carried out by the Executive.
According to President Boakai, the Liberian middle-class goal must be a reality in the next six years.
The 79-year-old Liberian president said the net international reserves position reported at the end of December 2023 was US$220 million.
He added that the report of US $40 million as the Government of Liebria’s (GoL’s) consolidated account balance as of January 19, 2024, is not supported by the fact.
“The balance reported by the CBL as of the same date was US$20.5 million, highly encumbered, NOT US$40 million,” said Amb. Boakai.
“To this end, we re-emphasize our earlier commitment to audit and ensure that regular audits will be a culture across all branches of government, not only the Executive,” he noted.
Boakai detailed that the stock of public debt in End-December 2023 stood at US$2.21 billion, an increase of 8.67 percent compared to the December 2022 stock of US$2.08 billion.
He indicated that this represents a sharp increase of US$1.33 billion compared to the end of December 2017 stock of US$878.17 million (representing 601.8 percent rise).
He noted that Liberia’s debt burden has grown astronomically. Certainly, he said, the rescue mission was a necessity for Liberia’s transformation.
As he spoke Monday, he said Liberia was under sanction for lack of payment of dues to the African Union and the African Development Bank.
Also, President Boakai said a default in payment of about US$650,000 to the European Investment Bank is preventing a disbursement of over US$13 million for the Sanniquellie-Loguato road.
“We will reintroduce the Fiscal Rules and Travel Ordinance in addition to other measures to help address waste and abuse and ensure the return of prudent fiscal management. We will ensure that the executive leads by example,” he promised the Liberian people.