Liberia: 'Our Govt Is Broke'

Traders in Monrovia's largest market district of Waterside

President George Weah touched on lots of issues of national importance including the state of the Liberian economy and even shed light on the amount of money collected in 2017 by the former government of President Ellen Johnson, which he says he cannot vouch for in the absence of an audit.

Pres. Weah who Monday delivered his first state of the nation address before the joint session of the National Legislature gave bleak feature of the Economy and the national coffers, announcing the country is broke and the economy is broken.

In leu of financial records exchanged with his team as part of the transition, President Weah informed the nation there was a 13% decline in revenue collection in 2017.

"Of course, during the transition, certain information was provided containing balances which we now inherit to carry forward. Total revenue collected in calendar year 2017 amount 489.1 million, which is a13% decline over revenue collected in 2016 565.1 million," he reported to the national legislature.

But with former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in attendance, the Liberian president also made it clear he could not "vouch for the accuracy or completeness of this information in the absence of verification by a full and proper audit conducted by a competent authority."

He did not say whether his government will muster the courage to pursue an audit of the account to establish the veracity of what was reported by the Ellen-led government.

Weah said he could give complete as newly sworn-in president of the government before him.

"It is customary that the state of a nation address gives an account of the President's stewardship of the government for the previous year and then set out his legislative agenda for the ensuing session," he noted.

"Additionally, the president is expected to present the overall economic condition of the nation of which should cover both the expenditure and revenue. In this regard, as I have been president for only one week, I cannot be expected to report with authority on the expenditure and income of the government of Liberia for the previous year which was administered under predecessor."

Shedding light on the state of the economy, President Weah unequivocally painted a bleak picture, saying a lot has been left for his administration to improve the situation.

"This is plain for all to see, for we are all affected by it; our economy is broken, our government is broke, our currency is in freefall, inflation is rising, unemployment is at an unprecedented high and our foreign reserves at an all-time low," Weah stressed.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the challenge that we face; in order to overcome these constrains and overcome these strengths, we the Executive Branch will work with you to find solutions."

The president said his government will submit the legislations that address some of the issues he mentioned, including 'power to the power, education, empowerment and expansion of sport.

The President also pledged to make the improvement of education a major priority under his government.

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