Mrs. Helen Senyon-Howard, a concerned Liberian woman, and a former staffer of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has been speaking on the state of the Liberian economy, and what she thinks the world should know about this troubling state of the Liberian economy.
Below is Mrs. Howard’s reaction as she addresses the issue:
Greetings to you all fellow Liberians! I salute you for keeping the fire burning, as I speak to the issue of our troubling economy.
This government as we all may be aware has not only inherited a broke government but a totally broken economy. This government at this moment is feeling the effect of the devastation caused by the 14 years senseless and brutal civil conflict.
The reason why many of us never suffered it so much as now, was because of the heavy presence of the United Nations through one of its most expensive missions in the world United Nations Mission in Liberia or UNMIL. The presence of this world peacekeeping body helped to provide a cosmetic surgery of our economy and the State of our GDP.
The annual cash injection of over a billion dollars in the economy, more than made up for the following:
– Our foreign exchange needs for government and private sector transactions; – Kept our inflation rate at a steady low of between 0.5 to 1% increment annually;
– Kept the price index of our staple food and other essential commodities at affordable prices;
– Kept the exchange rate of the Liberian Dollars to the US Dollars at a steady low annual increased rate of between 7 to 10 percent annually;
– Provided jobs for over a thousand Liberian Staff in various contractual agreements;
– Provided jobs for more than five Thousand Liberians on a daily hired basis throughout the 15 Counties;
– Increased household income thereby increasing their purchasing power;
– Provided payment for Rentals to our Real Estate owners:
– Increased Government’s tax on Foreign rentals or Leasehold agreements;
– Provided Quick Impact Projects that rehabilitated most of the government’s institutions and structures, including public or Community based projects thereby providing job always to trades men and women in the construction field;
– Provided countless training for Capacity building and empowerment for the Police, Army Immigration Officers, Coast Guard Officers and Civilian Staff and Citizens throughout the Country….
Logistical wise, the UNMIL’s PX Supermarkets, fleet of vehicles and aircrafts and Shipping Vessels helped provide the following injection in the economy:
– Provided jobs for the PX workers;
– Availability of these food, drinks and non-food items, on the Liberian market for affordable prices,
More than a billion gallons of crude and refined petroleum products in Gasoline, Diesel, Jet fuel, Kerosene, Cooking gases, Generators for electrifying their establishments and Staff Residents throughout the 15 Counties etc…
– Provided some of these petroleum products to our Camp Boys for sale at a reduced price….
The International Community’s support to the Sirleaf led Government, accounted for over 60 billion dollars, helping the government with the structuring of major institutions and payment of Government’s officials and Civil Servants and the list goes on….
My fellow kinsmen, I could go on all day. With the departure of UNMIL and everything they impact the economy with, has exposed our economy to its true position.
The damage to our economy of the war era is the reality we’re faced with now. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the gone administration has been a little more careful in the way the support given them were properly managed.
But again, we can see how much their stewardship has negatively impacted the economy and the lives of the Liberian people; as if all that was not enough, they went further to print Liberian banknotes to further depreciate our currency and further complicate the reality we’re faced with.
We need to remain steadfast, pray and support our Leadership and the Pro-Poor agenda because you know what? It’s going to work and we’ll come out of this recession our economy is going through.
If people are protesting, it’s because of their suffering and ignorance of the fact that this Government is not responsible for what we’re all going through now as a nation. All we can do is not to antagonize them but to keep speaking the truth and encouraging them that things will get better soon.
Our Government Officials need to be good ambassadors now than ever, they should be careful how they display wealth or lavish living in the midst of a national economic recession and hardship…May God bless the President and Government, May God bless the Mighty CDC and it’s loyal partisans, May God bless Liberia and the peace loving people of Liberia and save the State in Jesus’s name Amen.