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Toughest Christmas yet!

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Liberians are generally frustrated over the bad shape of the economy even as they struggle hopelessly to celebrate Christmas this year, which in the past, had be commemorated here with big pageantry characterized by huge spending spree and food.

Even as the government managed and paid civil servants’ salary, the astronomical cost of living effectively diminishes the actual intent of enabling citizens to celebrate the day with family members joyously.

The Christmas euphoria this year is further dampened by mass layoff by concession companies, including the steel giant ArcelorMittal and the government’s own Maritime Authority, the LMA, which downsized 40 employees.

At the eve of Christmas, today, December 24, most parents appear more worried about finding tuition and fees for their kids before the start of the second semester which starts in January 2016 barely a week away.

Proprietors of businesses are complaining of lack of sales, while venders are unable to receive payments for services rendered because the government, which is the largest provider of contracts, is yet to approve allotments for most ministries and agencies.

In both the Redlight Market in Paynesville and the Waterside General Market along the UN Drive sellers outnumber buyers as cash-stripped citizens roam the various stalls without making purchase.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf clearly sounded the warning recently in an address to the Nation after a trip abroad that the ecoconomy is unhealthy and Liberians should look forward to tightening their belts as they face the remaining two years of her second term and perhaps even after she leaves office.

By Jonathan Browne

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