President George Weah has assured stakeholders at the ongoing three-day National Economic Dialogue that his Administration will seriously take into account their recommendations and, where and when necessary, will back them with the ‘political will’ for successful implementation.
The President was speaking Wednesday at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town when he declared the economic dialogue officially opened.
Stakeholders from a broad spectrum, including civil society, professional backgrounds, political affiliations, banking and financial institutions, and internationals experts, are deliberating on a number of issues to fix the Liberian economy which has taken a downward trend, coming from as far back as the previous government.
In his remarks at the opening ceremony, President Weah said that the forum was convened as an important initiative of his administration to stimulate a broad-based conversation among all stakeholders within the Liberian economy concerning the best and most feasible way forward to sustainable growth and development.
“You may recall that, in my first Annual Message which was given one week after I assumed the Presidency in January last year, I informed the nation that the state of the economy that my administration had inherited left a lot to be desired.
“There were structural challenges which would require major adjustments if they were not to continue to have a negative impact on macro-economic stability. There were also issues of liquidity, and a persistent decline in the value of our currency, compounded by reducing inflows of foreign exchange and investments, all of which placed upward pressure on inflation,” said President Weah.
He added: “In the eighteen months since my incumbency we have exercised our best efforts as a Government to address these issues. Yet, many of them persist, and continue to present challenges.
“I am not an economist, and will never pretend to be one. Yet, the mantle of leadership that has been placed upon me, gives me direct responsibility to find lasting solutions to repair our broken economy, and make life better for our people.”
When the President addressed the nation in May of this year, he urged Liberians to work together in attempts to tackle the toughest problems, and seek to make the choices that will lead to changes that have broad positive effects.
In June, also, the Liberian leader alluded to his Government not having monopoly of ideas, acknowledging that the collective effort of all Liberians was needed to achieve the desired objective of reviving the economy, and placing the country on a path of sustainable development and transformation.
He wants all citizens to work with the government in devising and supporting new measures which could successfully address the structural defects and imbalances in the economy, at the same time hoping for discussions and dialogues on the way forward for economic revival in Liberia.
Furthermore, the President stated that given the “deep” concern of his government about the current state of the country’s economy, and the appreciation of the urgent need to take corrective action in the short-, medium-, and long-terms; his Administration established an Independent National Economic Dialogue Secretariat (INEDS).
“We gave them (INEDS) the mandate to create this consultative forum, where the best and the brightest minds, both Liberian and international, can be made to focus on analysis and diagnosis of our economic problems, and develop prescriptions, policies, and programs that should take our economy forward and upward to growth and prosperity for all,” he explained.
Additionally, he said that: “We are highly impressed by the calibre of the various panelists, both Liberian and foreign, and the depth and range of the experience and knowledge in their respective fields, all of which it is expected that they will bring to bear in searching for lasting solutions to our economic problems.
“On behalf of the people of Liberia, and in my own name, I want to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to each and every one of you for taking the time to assist our country with your expertise.”
The ongoing economic forum, under the theme: “National Economic Revival And Growth: Critical Issues, Challenges, And A Way Forward,” is supported the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), ECOWAS, European Union and the Government of Liberia.
President Weah had earlier said that he was convinced that findings of the stakeholders and recommendations will support and enhance the attainment of the goals and objectives of the national development plan – the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).