The NEWS (Monrovia)

18 April 2014

Liberia: U.S. Proposes Remedy for Budget Shortfall

United States Ambassador Debora Malac has asked the Liberian Government to desist from spending money it does not have.

Ambassador Malac said the government is facing a severe budget shortfall which has impacted its ability to execute 'ambitious activities' it has planned.

Madam Malac said she hopes that revenue collection will improve, as assured by Finance Minister Amara Konneh.

"But it is very important that government doesn't spend money it doesn't have, because it is not a good decision to get into," she emphasized.

The US envoy further said "it is hard, when you are impatience to make thing happen when the money is not there. Sometime it is good to take a step back to figure out what is possible with the funding that is available, and then look and hope for other way to look for funding."

Madam Malac made the statement Wednesday during an interview with journalists at the Ministry of Postal Affairs, where she held a close door discussion with Minister Fredrick Norkeh.

Responding to questions from journalists at the end of the meeting, Ambassador Malac said "I don't want to get into political discussion, but there was a projection sent from the Executive to the Legislature. I am not a financial specialist to know what the allotments were, I have no idea."

Touching on the purpose of her visit to the Ministry of Postal Affairs, Ambassador Malac said it was a follow-up meeting that discussed a number of things. She noted that the discussion also considered how things are going on at the entity.

For his part, Minister Norkeh said the meeting was fruitful because the Ambassador wanted to know the challenges and accomplishments of his ministry.

Minister Norkeh disclosed that the US embassy has been helping in the area of capacity building and noted that the Ministry of Postal Affairs has a challenge in the telecommunications area, especially in the deployment of the fiber cable.

"We discussed that with her and have asked for the US advice, since it is one of the premium countriesin the area of fiber technology to provide us some clue on where to go and how to proceed," he added.

According to the Minister, the meeting also provided him the opportunity to acquaint her with challenges at the ministry including the need for logistic.

Madam Malac was also briefed about the ministry's achievements.

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