The NEWS (Monrovia)

Liberia: We Agree With Dr. Tipoteh

editorial

Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, internationally renowned economist, former Budget Advisor to President William R. Tolbert and former Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs has diagnosed the budget shortfall and presents overtures by which the Government of Liberia can correct the situation.

He Dealt With the crux of the matter and provided suggestions for the government to utilize in order to fix the already deteriorating budget. Dr. Tipoteh is not only an internationally renowned economist, but he's also a foremost politician who understands the dynamics of the global economy, the changing trends and how they affect or impact Africa.

This Is Dr. Tipoteh's first official comment on the budget shortfall and how government can correct the problem that seems complicated to handle. Although he criticized the poor performance of the budget, nevertheless, he provides recipe to deal with the budget shortfall.

Dr. Tipoteh Is perhaps one of few politicians who takes on the government on issues that affect the people and the nation without providing solutions. Although his comment might not be appreciated by the government, however, Dr. Tipoteh has said it all.

He outlined a number of measures to deal with the budget shortfall, such as taxes as well as corruption, among other factors. According to him, the first measure is that the President of Liberia should appoint national financial managers who understand the workings of the economy of Liberia very well. Dr. Tipoteh contended that with such an understanding, the financial managers will predict very well the expected contribution of economic actors to government revenue.

The Renowned Liberian Economist is not insinuating that the President's financial managers are inept or not entirely up to the task, but sometimes you cannot allow a boy to do a man's job which could prove catastrophic. The establishment of a panel of financial and economic experts to advise government on serious economic issues would help the government avoid some of the problems it is facing today. This is the second time in succession for the government to experience a budget shortfall.

In the last budget year (2012/13), there was a budget shortfall. The government explained that the reason for that shortfall was that revenues expected to have been collected from some leading concessions such as Mittal, China Union and the logging sector faced some problems.

We Suspect That there's lack of sincerity in the collection of taxes. In some cases, we believe there are compromises along the way to dupe the government of the necessary revenues it needs to address socio-economic problems facing the people and the country.

We Believe That corruption issue raised by Dr. Tipoteh regarding budget shortfall is a serious matter which will continue to affect the budget, especially when there is "stealing of taxpayers' money and/or the use of taxpayers' money for personal purposes." Recently, U.S. envoy Debora Malac raised similar concern, warning the Liberian government not to spend money it does not have in the budget.

The Reality Is clear that the government is facing serious economic constraint and it seems uncertain whether this problem will be settled anytime soon. We want the Government of Liberia to consider seriously suggestions by Dr. Tipoteh if this country must sail on a smooth financial pathway.

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