Mon - Fri: 9:00 - 17:00
Sat-Sun Closed
Broad & Mechlin Street
info@mfdp.gov.lr

IMF Chief speaks of Liberia’s path to economy prosperity-Wants Liberia diversified economy, revitalized electricity, agriculture

IMF Managing Director Speaking at Town Hall Meeting Held during her Official Visit to LiberiaThe Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde says, one of the major interventions carryout by the Liberian government in response to economy recovery and becoming middle income state by year 2030, is the creation of the Liberia Revenue Authority.

She opted that she welcomes the performance of the Liberia Revenue Authority, which revenue collection has been strong and steady in this difficult year.

“I can only encourage you to build upon this experience to bring revenues up to levels that are prevailing in other countries in the West African community. There are equally important measures on the spending side—particularly on improving the efficiency of investment execution. This means strengthening project planning and enhancing the governance and accountability of the institutions involved. This will not bear fruit overnight, but efficient spending of public money is not only important for fiscal reasons, but also to obtain broad public acceptance for public investment projects,” Madam Lagarde disclosed.

She says by Liberia investing in the provision of power/electricity and promoting agriculture activities, after the devastation of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) on the country, the nation could achieve economy prosperity.
Liberia notified an outbreak of the virus in March 2014 and WHO had declared the country disease-free on two occasions. The latest declaration was last Month, August, 2015.

To understand Liberia’s resilience against Ebola, Ms. Lagarde as head of IMF high-power delegation visited the West African nation and held several meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other government officials including the leadership of the 53rd National Legislature, as well as a Town Hall exchange with government officials, Liberia’s development partners, representatives of civil society groups, women and students groups in the country.

Speaking at the Monrovia City Hill during a town hall meeting with officials of government, Lawmakers, Women and Civil Society Organizations, the Private Sector/Business Community as well as traditional and student leaders,Ms. Lagarde’s massage to the people of Liberia focused on four thematic issues of the country’s post Ebola recovery: the lessons for the international community from the fight against Ebola; the economic challenges that Liberia now faces; and how Liberia struggles to build a better future fits into the global effort to support development and overcome poverty.

According to her, beyond the crucial Ebola response issues is the need to revitalize the Liberian economy, an economy that had reached an impressive 8 percent growth rate before the crisis.

The IMF Boss who addressed a cross-session of Liberians at the Monrovia City Hill, drawing on few of Liberia’s heritage of wise proverbs including, “Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped,” “Monkey work, baboon draw,” and “You cannot pick a stone with one finger,” intoned that Liberia reaching its full economy prosperity will not be an easy task, especially in the face of a more challenging global economy.

At present, the IMF Chief said, the world is in a period of renewed uncertainty; while the advanced economies have been recovering, the pace of that recovery has been disappointing. According to her, China and other emerging markets are facing many challenges thus affecting the commodity markets that are so important to Liberia and other African countries including production of iron ore, due to the Ebola pandemic, and now the prices Liberia receive which are much lower.

“That means smaller export receipts, declining government revenue, and delays and cancellations of planned investments. Nonetheless, there are steps you can take to boost growth. I know there is a Liberian saying: “Monkey work, baboon draw.” But this is not the time for that! Now is the time for everyone in Liberia to work together to ensure a better future for the country. You are already making efforts to get the economy going again, and I would like to highlight three areas where I think progress will be crucial,” Ms. Lagarde said.

She cautioned Liberia’s political actors to sidestep politics and develop the nation before elections. Madam Lagarde said if President Sirleaf and every aspirant can join hands to develop the country, the electorates would have a clear cut choice when it comes to who should lead them. She, however, encouraged President Sirleaf and the government to work hard and deliver all necessary projects before the 2017 elections, pledging the IMF support to the Liberian government.

“I been in politics myself, election time is two years. There is plenty of time to deliver all the work, get it done for the good of all the people. Then election will come and people will seek out who they think is the best person to vote in office, but get the country in good shape,” she noted.

She however called on every Liberian to work together in order to ensure a better country:
“You have two years to go for elections, and I don’t call that a pre-election period. I think it will be really good for the country and for the people of Liberia if all those who have the public interest at heart will prepare to serve their country and that’s why they are going to politics to focus on the delivery of the good for the country, irrespective of political membership or affiliation. Just go with it and then you all take collective pride in what has been achieved and then propose to the future,” she emphasized.

The first step towards economy recovery, the IMF’s Managing Director recommended is to scale up investment to address infrastructure gaps. The IMF Chief said Liberia’s infrastructure gaps are huge, noting: “Only 2 percent of the population has access to the electricity grid and a mere 6.2 percent of roads are paved. These constraints were a drag on growth even before Ebola hit.

It is heartening to see that the hydro-power rehabilitation project at Mount Coffee has been re-started. But this is just the beginning—there are so many roads to be repaired, homes to receive electricity, and schools to build. I know, resources are scarce and demands are multiplying. Yet there is room to scale up investment—by more effectively mobilizing your own resources.”

One of the major interventions carryout by the government of Liberia in the country’s response to economy recovery and becoming middle income state by year 2030, recognized by Ms. Largard during her remarks, was the Liberia Revenue Authority.
She opted that she welcomes the performance of the Liberia Revenue Authority, which revenue collection has been strong and steady in this difficult year.

“I can only encourage you to build upon this experience to bring revenues up to levels that are prevailing in other countries in the West African community. There are equally important measures on the spending side—particularly on improving the efficiency of investment execution. This means strengthening project planning and enhancing the governance and accountability of the institutions involved. This will not bear fruit overnight, but efficient spending of public money is not only important for fiscal reasons, but also to obtain broad public acceptance for public investment projects,” the IMF boss continued.

She furthered that action for Liberia to recovery should be diversifying the economy to support inclusive growth.
To achieve this, Ms. Lagarde said: “For good reasons, I am usually cautious making recommendations about the structural aspects of an economy. We are not in the planning business, after all. But it strikes me that investments in agriculture in Liberia could be useful to reduce reliance on food imports, strengthen exports, and increase incomes for the two-thirds of the population employed in this sector. Indeed, there seems potential for increasing trade. Liberia’s trade with its West African neighbors is below the average for the region: 7 percent compared with 10 percent of total trade for the ECOWAS groups. So I would like to congratulate you heartily on Liberia’s pending entry into the WTO, and encourage you to pursue further gains from external trade. As you know, successful countries have often managed to encourage business and investment across many areas of the economy. So it is very important to create a climate that encourages innovation and investment in new, or non-traditional sectors. This could provide more opportunities for gainful employment to Liberia’s burgeoning youth—65 percent of your population. With unemployment in this group as high as 85 percent, and 50,000 labor market entrants each year, it is imperative to turn youth into an asset, and for that every idea, every project, every job offer counts.”

At the same time, during the program, the IMF Managing Director eulogized the significant contributions of Dr. Antoinette Sayeh, first Finance Minister under President Johnson Sirleaf’s Administration, now head of the IMF’s African Department for her enthusiastic service to the Fund and Liberia.

The IMF Chief described Dr. Sayeh as “one of Liberia’s extremely talented women,” who is working with the Fund while acknowledging Liberia’s gains towards women empowerment since the inception of the President Johnson Sirleaf-led government and the significant role of Dr. Sayeh.

“I commend the government of President Sirleaf on its progress in promoting economic participation for Liberian women. To date, women represent more than 20 percent of cabinet ministers, and a one third of the judiciary. Women today occupy more positions of authority compared to any previous administration in the history of the country. And I must say that I personally have the pleasure of working with one of Liberia’s extremely talented women—Antoinette Sayeh—your former Minister of Finance and our current Head of the African Department.

“In spite of this progress, Liberia still has a large gender gap that needs to be closed. As in Rwanda, which leads the world in terms of representation in the legislature, explicit quotas for women would help. Policies to improve women’s access to health services and higher education would be essential to ensure equality of opportunities. So these are my suggestions where determined efforts could help to achieve growth in a more sustainable and inclusive way. I certainly don’t think that this will be easy. Yet, there are other countries in this region that have overcome conflict and fragility to achieve strong and inclusive growth. I have no doubt that Liberians can do it, too. Nothing can be harder than beating Ebola,” she declared.

Also, during the last stage of the IMF MD’s interactions with Liberians, She called on Liberian women to get involved in activities that will build their capacities if they will want to contribute to Liberia’s economy.

Madam Lagarde advised that the fight against gender violence in the country be taken very seriously so as to bring out the full potential of women.

She then lauded the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) for opening their hearts by helping Ebola affected children and women and for accepting the less fortunate girls when she paid a visit to the YWCA in Congo Town outside Monrovia as part of her two-day visit to Liberia.

She stressed the need for the improvement of educational programs in a bid to help reduce the illiteracy rate of Liberian women, something which according to her will afford them the opportunity to contribute to the country’s economic recovery process. Noting, “Women must be seen as contributors of the economic recovery process as the country moves to an economic recovery stage.”

Latest Press Release

17 October 2019
Press Release

Monrovia, Liberia - The Government of Liberia has brought up to date the salaries of 15,000 public school teachers with bank account numbers and unique biometric identification numbers issued by the National Identification Registry.

15 October 2019
Press Release
Monrovia, Liberia - The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning clarifies that the government has already paid the salaries of fifteen thousand (15,000) non-MCSS teachers for the month of August, and is now processing their September pay....

Calendar

Wait a minute, while we are rendering the calendar
Location

P. O. Box 10 - 9016
Broad & Mechlin Street
1000 Monrovia
info@mfdp.gov.lr

Subscribe

Get updates and important events straight to your inbox. We don't spam

© Copyright 2019 | Ministry of Finance and Development Planning | . All Rights Reserved.

Search