MONROVIA — President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has declared that the Government of Liberia (GoL) will no more spend money intended for development purposes to pay for "illegal" structures as government carries out its development initiatives.
President Johnson-Sirleaf observed that people have over the years built in the alleys and illegal lands on the basis on being compensated by government.
The Liberian leader made these comments Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at a one-day meeting hosted by the Liberia Development Alliance (LDA). The LDA is aimed at coordinating the implementation of the national development plan of Liberia; The Agenda for Transformation (AfT).
According her, the budget for the 2012/2013 fiscal year was undermined due to the resettlement action plans (RAPS) by the GoL to owners of "illegal" structures.
"Our last budget was undermined due to the payment of RAPs. This is so because we had not anticipated it and did not make any budgetary allocation in this direction. However, we had had to make reallocation in this area because we needed to reach some conditions of the World Bank by paying owners of these illegal structures before we progress any further in our development. In the end, US$8.6M was spent on payment of illegal structures," said President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
The Liberian Chief Executive told the World Bank and other donors that there are circumstances that must be looked at in a different way here.
"You cannot apply policy that may be maintained in a country in a different circumstance to ours. We are going to meet people's relocation needs, but we are no longer going to pay money to people who build on illegal land or build illegal structures," she pointed out.
"We are not going to let people take advantage of us any longer. The US$8.6 million used for the payment of illegal structures could have done a lot in our agricultural sector or in our food sufficiency program," she stated. For his part, Finance Minister, Mr. Amara Konneh, said the Liberian economy has grown by 8.1 percent.
The Finance Ministry boss, among other things, stressed the need place more focus on the agriculture sector.