The Inquirer (Monrovia)

30 January 2013

Liberia: Benoni Urey Raps On President Sirleaf's Annual Message

Former Careysburg City Mayor Benoni Urey has described the Annual Message delivered by President Johnson-Sirleaf as a good speech which is intended to enhance development and move the country forward. The Former Careysburg City Mayor who for the first time has attended the President's annual Message said he was happy to be a part of the celebration.

Even though he did not elaborate further on the speech, the man widely believed to have been a stung supporter of the major opposition party the CDC was seen smiling as he greeted members of the ruling Unity Party.

He told the media that he graced the occasion as a statesman but not as a politician.

One unity Party supporter who headed a battle cry at the ceremony, described the presence of Mr. Urey at the ceremony as a sign of reconciliation.

Mr. Benoni Urey was a very strong supporter of the opposition CDC in the 2011 elections, though he was mayor of the city of Careysburg.

He is one of several Liberians who the UN has maintained sanction on several years since the departure of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

President Johnson-Sirleaf in her message to the state, stressed the importance of reconciliation and spoke highly of collective efforts to transform Liberia through development.

She said discussions were under way to develop a Government-Civil Society Compact which, when approved, will commit both to work together constructively and productively for the transformation of the National Vision into concrete reality.

"It is, indeed, time for transformation - transformation in the way we do business in Liberia; transformation in the way our partners do business; and transformation in the way our business laws are enforced in Liberia"

The Liberian leader said over half of the country's real GDP growth will come from the expansion of the iron ore mining sector, and extractive and capital-intensive operations. The large foreign investment mobilized has helped kick-start key sectors of the economy, such as mining, agriculture and forestry.

However, experience tells us that foreign businesses alone cannot build a healthy economy. Unless government can take tough decisions on how to use investment strategically, we could once again fall into the trap of experiencing growth without development.

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