Liberia: Who Are Those in Charge of Liberia's Fiscal and Monetary Policies - Tweah, Tarlue or Mcgill?

editorial

Just who are those in charge of Liberia's monetary and fiscal policy is the question on the lips of most Liberians. The question is being asked because from all indications, Minister of State Nathaniel McGill, rather than the Governor of the Central Bank (CBL) and the Minister of Finance, appears to be in charge.

Normally, it is the Minister of Finance who is in charge of national fiscal policies, while the CBL Governor is exclusively in charge of monetary policy. Against the backdrop of the current liquidity crunch, which is posing severe difficulties to the public, Liberians were all ears waiting, to hear from President Weah directly rather than through his surrogate, Nathaniel McGill.

And truth be told, it seemed rather odd that both the Minister of Finance and the CBL Governor have been noticeably silent on this matter and have instead seemingly derogated their responsibilities and shifted same to others.

According to analysts, Minister McGill's rants are testimony to the apparent reluctance or perceived inability of the President to lead. For example, they maintain that while the entire nation has been looking forward to hearing from President Weah on widely expected changes the public hopes to see, he has once again surrendered the task to a surrogate.

President Weah ought to realize by now that his Minister of State has lost the trust and confidence of the Liberian people and is widely hated. It can be recalled that in a leaked audio aired several months ago on social media, CDC Chairman Mulbah Morlu said Nathaniel McGill is the most hated public official in the country.

How then can the public be expected to believe comments by Minister McGill on the publicly anticipated shake-up as well as on the current liquidity crunch?

He (McGill) has blamed the liquidity crunch on the Legislature who he has also accused of having failed to authorize the printing of L$7 billion banknotes to ease the liquidity situation.

But for Heaven's sake, it is an open secret that the current liquidity crunch is directly related to the missing L$16 billion and the US$25 million liquidity mop-up exercise.

From day-one of the newsbreak of the alleged missing L$16 billion, the Government of Liberia has strenuously denied that any money went missing. But it would later press criminal charges against officials of the CBL for involvement in what GoL said was the unauthorized printing of excess banknotes. Even the printer, CRANE, was criminally charged.

At the end of the day, criminal charges were dropped against every single individual and institution indicted. No money went missing, it was declared, while the case of the fraudulent US$25 million liquidity mop-up scheme fizzled out. Mutilated notes, which should have been long since withdrawn from circulation, following the initial printing of LRD banknotes, still remain in circulation.

And now, despite the recent printing of L$4 billion banknotes, the liquidity situation in the country remains acute and, to make matters worse, President Weah, rather than fixing his shoulder to the wheel, so to speak, is instead in surreal terms playing fiddle. "Mr. Liar Man" and "Happy Birthday" are his latest productions.

And the nation looks on in sad amazement, perhaps awe struck by the discomfiting realization that, in such difficult times with most people experiencing extreme difficulty just finding a daily meal, the President appears neither concerned nor moved.

Those who had harbored the belief that President Weah would have given Minister of State Nathaniel McGill his marching orders, must have been ruefully disappointed to hear the Minister on the airwaves, pontificating as though he is THE MAN IN CHARGE, not President Weah.

President Weah ought to realize that he does not have time on his hands. He needs to make changes as soon as possible, maintains a retired diplomat (name withheld), else he runs the risk of going down in history not only as a one-term President, but also as one of the most despised.

The CDC diehard and hawkish Deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahngon's admits that officials serving the President are hated by the people, although he (the President) is loved by them. That is why it is important that the President steps up to the plate and refrain from shying away and speak directly to the Liberian people.

If Fahngon's rants that public officials are deeply hated by the people are anything to go by, then it makes no sense for President Weah to speak to the Liberian people through the voices of despised officials. If changes are underway or are planned, President Weah should quickly announce this rather than leaving it to public speculation.

It is he who has the mandate and authority to appoint officials who serve at his will and pleasure. And it is only he who can dismiss, change or even rotate them. In this regard, he is urged to put the results of the just ended senatorial election behind him and carry on with his duties of governance.

And going forward from this day onwards, President Weah is urged to do everything in his power to curb tendencies that promote dysfunctional governance and undermine respect for the rule of law. This should form a major part of his agenda in 2021.

WILL THOSE IN CHARGE OF FISCAL AND MONETARY POLICIES PLEASE STAND!

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