23 April 2013

Liberia: Lack of Merit

The Liberian government has given a rather reluctant response to allegations made by a Liberian Think Thank based in the United States that the administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has failed to account for US$2 billion generated from revenues since January 16, 2006 to December 31, 2012.

Deputy Finance Minister for Revenue, Dr. James Kollie, said the allegations made by the Liberia Institute of Public Integrity (LIPI) lack merit and is a political statement that is not evidentiary.

He explained that when government collects revenues the money is used to develop the country such as the construction and rehabilitation of modern roads, buildings across the country and other important projects.

In an interview with The NEWS Monday, Dr. Kollie said he didn't want to respond to the allegation made by LIPI because of the individuals behind the statement.

In the statement issued early this week, the group said the Johnson-Sirleaf administration came to power on January 16, 2006. However, LIPPI indicated that from January 16, 2006 to December 12, 2012, the government generated in revenue US$2.02 billion which it has failed to account.

The Liberian Think Thank disclosed that it has been gathering financial performance data and will begin a critical analysis of these data aimed at bringing forth some policy solutions to financial governance in Liberia. It added that each forthcoming report will be a combination of financial performance of each Ministry and a strategic important budget line item.

"The main fundamental challenge that has faced Liberia for nearly 165 years is the issue of corruption and other forms of financial mismanagement. As a result, although by the start of the war in 1989, Liberia boasted of an annual revenue of about US$600 million not much noticeable improvements was made in the life of the people. For the past 7 years, from January 16, 2006 to December 31, 2012, the current administration has collected US$2.02 billion. It is expected to collect and expend another $3.5 billion over the next 5 years, given current level of expenditure. Since there is no budget performance report, it was difficult to determine value for money," the group alleged in the statement.'

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