20 June 2018

Liberia - Scorecard 'Critical' to Securing Another Millennium Challenge Compact

Monrovia — Maintaining performance on the Millennium Challenge Compact scorecard and a good implementation performance will be critical for Liberia to be considered for another grant, says Jonathan Nash, Chief Operating Officer of MCC.

Mr. Nash is currently in Liberia engaging the government about the successful implementation of the compact and says to be certified for another compact the country must pass the indicators to a certain extent.

Ruling justly, controlling corruption, rule of law, investing in people, increasing immunization rate, investing in health care and education, and promoting a business-friendly environment are some of the indicators on the scorecard that qualify a beneficiary.

Countries that do relatively well compare to their peers become eligible for the grant.

"To obtain a second compact, the board looks at the extent at which a country was able to deliver and have a high-quality implementation of the first compact. The board generally looks for improved performance on the scorecard over time as well," he said in Monrovia during a press briefing.

"I'm here to engage with President Weah and his administration to review the progress that has been made to date and to take a look ahead at the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the completion of the particular compact."

In 2016, Liberian received a grant of US$257 million from the United States through the MCC to enhance its electricity and road projects.

These two sectors were earmarked as binding constraints - major factors hampering the growth of the country's economy - after a rigorous and comprehensive survey.

Before the survey, Liberia had already achieved an acceptable scorecard after passing 10 out of the 20 indicators to qualify for the grant.

Mr. Nash says the Liberian government must also remain committed to the implementation of the current compact.

He acknowledged that Liberia has in recent years passed some key indicators including controlling corruption, but suggested that the government must continue to peruse anti-graft, democratic and economic freedoms in order to do better on the scorecard.

The collating and maintaining the data of these indicators are done by a third party institution, and the MCC wants to introduce said institution to the Liberian government in order to help maintain sound policy performance.

Monie Captan, CEO of the Millennium Challenge Account- Liberia - the agency setup in country to manage the implementation of the grant, recently revealed that there are opportunities to pass more indicators.

Captan said the government should develop an action plan to ensure all of the ministries and agencies that are connected to these performances develop a clear policy action plan to boost performance.

"Sometimes we failed indicators because the reporting ministry did not provide the information that was needed to judge our performance," he said.

The US$257 million compact is largely supporting Liberia's electricity project, ensuring power accessibility and affordability and helping to buttress the country's road network.

The five-year compact is already into its half way stage and intends to impact an estimated half a million Liberians before ending in 2021.

The MCC top executive, who is visiting from Washington D.C, says the compact is a priority project for his country.

"We deeply value our partnership with Liberia, that's one of the reasons I'm out here," he added, stressing the impact of the "great things already achieve under the existing compact".

"We want to make sure that the government is able to implement the reminder of this compact with success so that the benefits are afforded to the Liberian people."

He praised the "tremendous accomplishment" of the compact on the Mount Coffee hydro project and said the MCC attention is now focusing on the establishment of the electricity regulatory body for the country, the training of technicians by the Liberia Electricity Corporation and transmission and distribution of power as well as implementation of the road component of the compact.


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