FrontPageAfrica (Monrovia)

Liberia: The Grinch That Stole Christmas - Gloomy Economic Outlook Has Many Singing the Blues

editorial

Gloomy economic outlook has many shoppers & consumers Feeling the holiday blues

THE HOLIDAY SEASON is upon us once more and while many are looking forward to being with their friends, families and loved ones, it appears many will be spending the holiday lamenting and reflecting on a turbulent economic year that turned the hopes of many into despair.

IT HAS BEEN eight Christmases since the guns were silent and a new, democratically-elected government ushered in.

THE United Nations Mission in Liberia has done a marvelous job keeping the peace and the international community have thrown millions of dollars Liberia's way, erased debts and done a lot in helping Liberia turn the corner in its quest of completing the transition from war to peace.

THE ROAD here has not been easy.

A WAR WHICH STARTED in 1989 ruined much of the economy, the infrastructures and shipwrecked whatever economic sanity the post--war nation had going for it.

TODAY, BUSINESSES which fled the country are slowly returning - along with new ones but the lingering tension and lack of foreign currency, the mighty U.S. dollar is making life complicated and difficult for most.

SADLY, LIBERIA continues to rely on handouts from countries while a nation rich in water and mineral resources fail to make those resources impact and improve the lives of the people.

THE POST-WAR government headed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, approaching its eight year, continues to complain that it inherited massive international debts which it now boasts, it has paid or managed to erase, based on pleadings with the international community.

THIS WAS SUPPOSED to be the government that restored infrastructure and raised incomes of the war-ravaged economy through the implementation of sound macro- and micro-economic policies, including the encouragement of foreign investment.

TODAY, BILLIONS of announced investment opportunities have failed to impact the lives of Liberians and the country appears to be slowly heading back into the borrowing territory.

THEODORE "DR. SEUSS' GEISEL'S famous Christmas story, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" could very well be applied here as scores of Liberians, especially those in the rural areas wonder how they will celebrate the holidays this year.

THE GOVERNMENT won't admit it, but the country is broke, the US dollar is hard to come by and those relying on local currency are losing heavy, in their quest to buy foreign currency as the rate ascends to 84 LD to 1USD territory.

IT APPEARS the intervention of the Central Bank of Liberia will once again be relied on to save the day by, according to sources, infuse some cash into the economy for the holiday season.

IN "HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS", Dr. Seuss criticized the commercialization of Christmas and how the corporate world has been successful in turning a global holiday into a commercially-successful time of the year for big business.

FOR MANY LIBERIANS, that Grinch appears to be the government, which continues to struggle in trying to put a handle on the looming economic impasse staring down its throat.

LIBERIA HAS COME a long way and still has much more burdens to bear. For now though, the government must do all it can to ensure that its citizens enjoy a festive holiday season by easing the tax burdens and paying those it is indebted to.

THE LIBERIAN government must rid itself of the Grinch persona that appears to be eclipsing the soul of its existence. Happy Holidays...

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