25 March 2014

Liberia: Gov't Invests $130 Million

The National Coordinator for the Liberia Development Alliance or LDA, Finance Minister Amara Conneh, has disclosed that government invested $130 million in the first year of the LDA.

In a one-year report delivered at the Liberia Development Alliance Committee Meeting held in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County recently, Minister Conneh spoke of increasing investment in programs from seven to around 26 percent of the national budget. But he said the challenge now is how government will contain recurrent expenditures, and protect those key investments already in progress.

Conneh said $450 plus 7 million was disbursed in year one through credits to donors for doing well, while disclosing that agriculture, education, energy, environment and health sectors accounted for the largest share of the distribution.

However, the Finance Minister said delay in the passage of the national budget affects government's disbursement to these programs, while at the same time complaining that the country's law makes procurement process too long. Detailing a one-year progress report, he said government has a total of 277 interventions, and completed 147 at a rate of 53 percent.

In the agricultural sector, Conneh said government has mobilized significant financing, adding that when government prepared her economic agenda, the Agenda for Transformation or AFT, it costs around $3.2 billion, of which he disclosed that infrastructure, and specifically the economic transformation is the one with the biggest deficit.

But he said it's so underfunded by $895.9M; while pillar one of the agenda which is security, is also underfunded by $50.5M. For the human development pillar, he said records show that there is no financing gap and for the governance and public institutions pillars, government needs to raise additional $82.9M.

Welcoming the audience earlier, the Chair for the LDA, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said the meeting would discuss options on accelerating implementation of Liberia's transformation agenda.

Among the five key pillars of the AFT are Peace, Security, and the Rule of Law; Economic Transformation which covers natural resource management diversification, agriculture, land productivity, industrialization, value addition, trade and transport, focusing on power, road and ports, respectively.

The Third pillar is human development, education, health and social welfare, water and sanitation; civil service reform, economic development and labor, among others. Several government institutions made reports at the meeting graced by Liberia's partners, including the United States, European Union and others.

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