3 May 2013

Liberia: Government Sinks in Debts?

The Government of Liberia is said to be sinking in huge debts that slow down major development programs, the Deputy Secretary General of the Congress for Democratic Change has disclosed.

Mr. Samora Wolokollie alleges that the Government of Liberia is operating on credit in running the affairs of the state.

He said points out that Liberia's current national budget stands at US$700 million, and the government has borrowed about U.S. $579.2, which means the country is operating on credit.

In March this year, the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, Senator Isaac Nyenabo, disclosed that the country's foreign and domestic debts currently stand at US$579.2 million.

Senator Nyenabo explained that the stock of debts at the end of 2011 was US$579.2 million or 7.7 percent due to increase in both domestic and external financial obligations.

He told plenary that US$290.9 million or 12.8 percent was higher than the level recorded at the end of December 2011, and that domestic debt along amounted to US$288.3 million or 49.8 percent of total debts. Sen. Nyenabo: "Domestic obligations to financial institutions stood at US$280.5 million, which has amounted to 97.3 percent of the total domestic debt stock."

Speaking to The NewDawn on Wednesday in Monrovia, CDC Samora Wolokollie said despite huge financial assistance from friendly nations, including the United States and international organizations, the Harvard's trained economist President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, is leading the country to a serious problem that future governments would have to face.

Wolokollie noted that despite the huge borrow, not much is seen on the ground in terms of tangible programs. On November 19, 2012, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) through its Executive Board approved a three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement for Liberia, totaling about US$78.9 million.

The overall amount of the program represents 40% of Liberia's quota in the IMF. The approval enables the immediate disbursement of about US$11.3 million. The Executive Board subsequently concluded the 2012 Article IV consultations with Liberia, which was detailed in a Public Information Notice.

But Wolokollie, a lecturer at the University of Liberia, said President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has not been sincere with the Liberian people on whose behalf her government has received millions of dollars thru grants and donations from foreign partners.

He pointed out that what is even more worrisome is that the government's action would create serious setback for the country, noting that the Sirleaf administration lacks the political and socio- economical will to governor effectively.

Meanwhile, according to the Global Humanitarian Assistance, the Liberian government did receive US$30 in humanitarian aid, US$255 million for peacekeeping operations, including US$488 million from the United States Government only for 2010.

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