13 July 2014

Liberia: Harsh Economic Conditions Exacerbate Poverty - Says Atty. Woods

Former Minister of Public Works Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods attributed that excruciating economic conditions currently undermining the livelihood are issues that unveil poverty and a deep sense of injustice.

The Attorney-At-Law said the high cost of living, increase in exchange rate that is affecting disposable income and savings, lack of clear economic plan of action, are issues that unveil not only poverty, but it shows a deep sense of injustice.

Making the assertion at a press conference Thursday July 11, 2014 in Monrovia, Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods, Consultant, Liberia Law Society, said the Liberian people are losing faith in the their leaders for failing to proactively address the teetering problems facing the country.

"This situation needs to be addressed irrespective of our political, social and economic persuasions, and as a result of that, we need a national consultative process to manage and address what is becoming a national discontent," the former Public Works Minister said.

Atty. Woods noted that, with the current national discontent regarding the country's natural resources relate to various concession agreements, there is an ardent need to revisit the concession agreements earlier negotiated by the government.

He renewed call to investigate how the country's new-found natural resource (oil) has been managed and collectively take corrective actions where necessary to assure proper management and application of proceeds to the broad-based development of the country for the benefit of its people.

"All current and future intentions to sell additional oil blocks must be discouraged. With ordinary Liberians already bearing the brunt of economic mismanagement and financial managers failing to offer solutions and a plan to address the situation," he added.

The Attorney-At-Law maintained that the least the government wants to embark on is to hassle press freedom and silence the media and other critical voices of reason which are only serving as messenger and not the author of the multiple messages of poor planning, corruption, nepotism, cronyism and indifference to the plight of the people.

Atty. Woods, who was also former Minister of Labor, pointed out that since the commencement of oil exploration in Liberia, there have been continuous arguments in various quarters not only regarding the commercial viability of the samples that have been found so far, but also the management of resources that have accrued as a result of the sale of oil blocks with almost little or no consideration for local content.

"It must be stated now and for the record that if care, prudence, proper judgment and collective interests are not the guiding principles accompanying the process leading to the full discovery of oil in commercial quantity, we run the risk of being one of the most corrupt and least transparent," he warned.

He used the occasion to also renew call for the audit of both the Ministries of Planning and Economic Affairs and Finance, noting that he cannot be deterred or intimidated by anybody.


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