Mr. Sam Jackson, former Minister of State for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Liberia has clarified that his recent article chronicling progress and challenges over the past ten years did not imply that President Sirleaf is mismanaging the economy.
In a release issued yesterday, the Liberian economist did say that challenges which occurred before 1989 remain largely unresolved due to systemic problems. He also said that innovation and creativity which are required to retool the development agenda have not been instituted.
He blamed the problems on the lack of capacity, limited domestic mobilization and the model of economic development based upon the neo liberal open door policy of attracting foreign direct investments, mostly in the extractive sector.
Mr. Jackson said the administration has done extremely well in areas of health and infrastructure, mostly due to constructive engagement of the donor community, but more needs to be done to attract the funding for development by departing from the old ways of awaiting foreign direct investments.
He's calling upon the government to use the natural resource development process by securitizing assets and using cash flows from current large projects as sources of repayment to attract the necessary funding for development.
The Liberian economist says that the acquisition of debt is not necessarily a bad thing as long as the funding is used in areas with high economic and social rates of return.
He said recently economists discovered that high debt in relationship to a country's economic output (GDP) is not necessarily bad and that countries should leverage assets and create public and private partnerships for economic development. These are the areas that the government should aggressively pursue.
Meanwhile, Mr. Jackson is calling upon the government to form an independent council of economic advisors of train technical and financial experts and business people to determine the most expeditious route to accelerate economic development.
He said reports that he has fallen out with the administration is patently false, but there are differences in economic philosophy; as that is to be expected, adding that he believes in a radical approach to development while President Sirleaf believes in the incremental approach. He said two people can have differing approaches to economic development, which is not the same as saying "Ellen is Managing the Economy poorly".