25 March 2014

Liberia: Infrastructural Development, Peace & Security Top AFT Report

Buchanan — Finance Minister Amara M. Konneh over the weekend presented the annual report for Year-One of the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) with more emphasis on infrastructural development, justice and peace and security.

The AfT is a five-year development strategy of the Government of Liberia (GoL). It is otherwise known as "Steps towards Liberia rising 2030. Basically, there are five pillars that make up the AfT.

Speaking at a one-day round table conference for the release of the first-year report of the Aft, Mr. Konneh, who is also the Coordinator of the steering committee of the Liberia Development Alliance (LDA), outlined road construction, restoration of electricity, rehabilitation of port facilities around the country, rehabilitation of the Roberts International Airport (RIA) runway, improvement of peace and security and education as some of the major marks over the year under review.

"There have been lots of progresses in the first year of the Agenda for Transformation, even though there were some challenges along the way," said the AfT Coordinator.

According to him, total aggregate of progress of the Aft over the year under review amounts to 53%.

Mr. Konneh, in a power point presentation, illustrated that the peace and security pillar of the AfT achieved 68% of progress, while economic transformation amounted to 55%.

He also noted that governance and public institutions scored 36% and cross cutting issues amount to 48%.

As part of its effort to ensure the successful implementation of the plan, he disclosed that the Government of Liberia (GoL) spent up to US$ 130M, while donors contributed US$450.7M.

The Liberia's Finance Minister and AfT Coordinator stressed the need for areas with low performance rate to get more attention in order to improve their performance rate in the implementation of the AfT.

Among other things, he also stressed the need for the holding of an AfT meeting on a monthly basis to continue the review and discussions that will lead to a successful implementation of a AfT.

But contrary to Minister Konneh's assertions that the justice system is being revamped by the day, President Johnson-Sirleaf seriously frowned on the high number of pre-trial detention around the country.

The Liberian leader pointed out that the justice system is structured in a way that "people are easy to go to jail".

"The justice system needs to be further revamped. The courts need to work around this area of pre-trial detention, because our people are easy to go to jail," President Johnson-Sirleaf stated.

For his part, Defense Minister, Mr. Brownie J. Samukai, who chairs the peace, security and rule of law pillar, said plans are underway to train additional police, immigration and military personnel.

He pointed out that government is working out modalities to turnover training facilities previously used by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in Voinjama to the Bureau of Immigration and naturalization (BIN) for training of BIN officers.

He disclosed that plans are underway to train 900 police officers as of July this year to March of 2015 at a cost of US$19.5M.

Minister Samukai also disclosed that 400 immigration personnel will be trained over the next eight months, and that 130 personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) will be completing training by next month (April).

"We need to strengthen our security sector; the police, the immigration, AFL and DEA, all need to be strengthened," Minister Samukai added.

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