Liberia: Pres. Weah Recites 'Broken Economy' Challenges, Outline Achievements

President George M. Weah, during his second Annual Address to the Joint session of the National Legislature on January 28, 2019.

Monrovia — Taking two-hours-one-minute to deliver his second State of the Nation Address at the Capitol on Monday, President George Weah recalled his achievements of 2018 and set his sights on the plans for 2019 amid concerns about Liberia's struggling economy, hardship and allegations of corruption.

And he recounted the challenges of the economy, his moves to empower youth, freedom of speech, and also reemphasized the significance of achieving his government's Pro-poor agenda as well as amassing sweeping new appointing powers.

Weah, again, recited the cliche of inheriting a "broken economy", outlining to Liberians listening to the broadcast of his speech via social media and radio the same factors that hampered his predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Said Weah: "Even with these optimistic recovery forecasts, our projected growth rates are still below the pre-Ebola period, when the economy grew on average by 7.5 percent annually."

Further on the economy, he admitted that the Liberian dollar is still performing poorly against the US dollar.

He also catalogued the support and interventions of foreign partners including USAID, European Union and the Swedish government.

Later, President Weah disclosed that the much anticipated investigation report of the missing L$16 billion will be released at the end of next Month.

"The Report from the Kroll Audit Team is expected at the end of February 2019, and will be released to the public by USAID," he said of the investigation which was sanctioned by the US government last year afater huge protest from many Liberians.

"If it is established that there has been any willful act of criminality, negligence, or malfeasance by anyone implicated in the reports, the full weight of the law will be brought to bear."

Earlier, he urged the Legislature to pass into law several bills, including the Acts to decriminalize free speech, dual citizenship and domestic violence amongst others, promising to submit more bills including an act to pay the tuitions of undergraduate students of all public tertiary public institutions across the country.

Weah also described Liberian youth as "the largest component of our population, hold the ultimate key for the development and prosperity of Liberia".

But he was aware that they are "potential threats to national security" if existing issues continue to hinder their economic development and transformation.

He then announced that the government is holding talks with the EU for a US$20 million grant for technical vocational institutes across the country.

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