The leadership of the Federation of Liberian Youth or FLY, a national youth body in the country alarms that the government through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning plans to remove it from the 2019/2020 national budget.
"Our attention has been drawn to a calculated plan by the Liberian government through its Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to remove FLY from the 2019/2020 national budget. FLY sees this decision by the government as a deliberate attempt of silencing statutory national youth bodies in the country and undermining international protocols like the African Youth Charter to which this Government is a signatory", the Federation claims in a news conference in Monrovia.
Instead, it calls on the Liberian government to single out FLY as a Direct Budget Receiving Entity beginning this 2019/2020 national budget.
FLY President Amos Williams says leaving FLY and other statutory youth groups at the mercy of the Ministry of Youth & Sports is intended to micro-manage and hamper their independence.
"Some of you may recall that recently the MFPD had a policy brief in which it disclosed plans of allocating a lump-sum amount of money to a particular line ministry to determine and allocate it as they see necessary," Mr. Williams adds.
He notes that in any modern system of governance where a particular category of the population is in large number, the governing structure creates the necessary systems that focus more on the wellbeing of such population category like the young people.
He argues that being the largest portion of the Liberian population, the youths have always lagged behind in adequate budgetary support, something which has impeded their progress and resulted to them being used as elements of violence.
The FLY boss calls on the government of President George Manneh Weah to make true its pledge for youth development.
"It is time that the President reflects on the massive turnout of our population that supported him during his years of political struggles before becoming President."
He emphasizes that it is time the President reciprocates such high degree of support he continues to enjoy from the youth.
FLY acknowledges the current economic situation and budgetary constraints faced by the country, but adds that young people issues in Liberia should receive national priority.
Williams recallsthat President Weah submitted a National Youth Act to the Legislature for passage, which the Ministry of Youth & Sports and partners are currently reviewing thru the National Youth Policy (2019-2023).
He says these are very clear indications that the government is committed to supporting youth development and empowerment at all levels.
At the same time, FLY believes that these policy statements and documents can only come to fruition when the needed budgetary support is provided by national government.
He points out that without financial support, FLY as a national youth umbrella organization will not meaningfully play its role in implementing the Pro-Poor Agenda - Pillar One. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne