By Othello B. Garblah
President George Weah is expected to deliver his 6th State of the Nation Address (SONA) next Monday, January 30, since his first in 2018.
In his 2022 SONA, Weah among other things declared the country safe, peaceful, and strong under his administration amidst criticisms that most part of his speech, which primarily detailed achievements during the previous year was sexed up, suggesting that some of the achievements mentioned were beyond reality.
On January 30, this year, he is as mandated by Article 58 of the Liberian Constitution present to the Liberian people through a joint session of the Liberian Legislature his programs for the ensuing session, coupled with report on the State of the nation, covering its economic condition including expenditure and income.
Expectations ahead of this year’s SONA are high, particularly so due to the country’s pending crucial general and presidential elections later this year in October.
So, what the president will say?
President Weah is expected to highlight his achievements over the period which include ongoing road constructions, building of hospitals, maintaining the peace, and praying for violent free and fair elections.
The president would also be expected to report on progress and plans of his government’s legislative agenda, economic revitalization, social services, foreign relations and peace and reconciliation amongst others.
President Weah is also expected to declare as in his previous address that the state of the economy is Stable and Growing and that the State of the Nation is Peaceful and Strong!”
Revenue and Expenditure
President Weah is also expected to delve into the state of public expenditure and national income. He will be expected to disclose the revenue collected over the 2022 reporting period and mention grants receive during this reporting period with a year-on-year comparison.
President Weah is also expected to further explain domestic tax collection and a breakdown of external resources received from the country’s Development Partners, with a year-on-year comparison of domestic revenue performance.
He may try to explain the transition of the country’s fiscal period from July 1 to June 30 to January 1 to December 31 and how it has aligned with countries within the ECOWAS sub-region.
The Weah administration has over the past two fiscal years recorded the highest postwar budgets approaching nearly US1 billion.
No Political Prisoner
With 2023 being an election year, President Weah will be glad to report that there is no political prisoner and that his administration has created a level playing field or an enabling environment for political freedom.
To further stressed his achievement, President Weah would indicate that his administration has done its best to respect and protect the rights of citizens and residents and has strengthened the country’s democracy, accountability, rule of law and strong independent judicial system.
However, President Weah’s 6th SONA which is the last of his first term will not be void of criticisms from the opposition after it has been read out. To be continued.