The NEWS (Monrovia)

16 May 2014

Liberia: "Remove Unnecessary Spending From Budget"

--LINSU

The Liberia National Student Union (LINSU) says the economic turbulence being experienced in the country should not be blamed on any individual or those responsible for the fiscal and monetary side of the Liberian economy.

The student movement said calls for public officials resignation by a legislator/citizen is a fundamental right, but also, a disservice to the country especially when the legislators have oversight powers and responsibilities and can use those powers when deemed fate.

LINSU says the executive and legislative branches of government must remove waste and unnecessary spending from the budget and project conservatively, warning that the country must refrain from spending outside it means.

The student movement said Finance Minister Amara Konneh and other financial managers should not be held responsible for the budget shortfall or for the poor performance of the economy.

In a statement read at a press conference Thursday, LINSU believes that the current economic problem can be addressed only if the Legislature decides to put more monies in the national budget to rescue Liberia from this academic menace or debacle.

LINSU says it supports recent statement by U.S. Ambassador Deborah Malac who advised the government not to spend outside of its budget.

LINSU indicated that the government needs to use the 2013/2014 budget as a lesson and prepare a realistic and better spending plan in 2014/2015, warning "we cannot spend what we do not have."

Notwithstanding, LINSU says it is pleased that efforts to increase revenue mobilization has now seen over US$425 million raised but still believes a lot has to be done to bridge the very high shortfall announced by the Minister of Finance.

"Spending agencies contributing to the budget must perform their share of the obligation by ensuring robust collection of revenue or should be affected by a corresponding expenditure reduction," LINSU stressed.

Nevertheless, in the interest of moving the country forward, LINSU said authorities of the Ministry of Finance and the National Legislature should work together, without assigning blame, to mitigate any such problems in the future and talk civilly to each other with the respect due.

LINSU: "We as a National student movement worry more about the current state of Liberia's educational system as prescribe by Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as a Mess, LINSU believe the legislature must put more monies in the National budget to rescue Liberia from this academic menace or debacle. As we all strides to build the human resource capacity of young Liberians."

Meanwhile, LINSU says it is particularly impressed with the candor, details and useful information provided by the Ministry of Finance in allying fears that the economy was tumbling down. The group said the statistics on the 2012/2013 budget performance was also particularly insightful and believes that a historical misconception was corrected.

LINSU said as admitted by the Minister of Finance, the Liberian economy is in decline, however, he believes that this is indeed troubling, but stressed that this decline is indeed reflective of global and regional economic decline associated with the decline in demand of worldwide commodity prices, exchange rate vitality and other external shocks.

In his address to the National Economic Forum in Ghana on May 13, 2014, coincidentally the same day our legislators invited Minister Konneh and his team, LINSU said Ghanaian President John Mahama made the following telling remarks, which doesn't only mirror our current economic challenges but shows our neighbors are thinking and working together to solve theirs.

He said "We are in the midst of overcoming various challenges associated with this new national income status while at the same time striving to develop the institutions that would enable us grow and transform our economy at this time of great volatility and uncertainty in the global economy."

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