Indeed, our Country had been, and is, a quagmire, as we observed recently, elsewhere that a “quagmire is an awkward, hazardous and complex situation; it is a muddled up, mixed-up, messed-up predicament; a difficulty, quandary, entanglement, imbroglio and a fiasco in many African, socio-economic and political affairs”. So it had been, and is, the state of affairs of the Republic of Liberia since its founding in 1847, throughout succeeding political administrations up to the day.
Moreover, we observed, also, that the colossal, disastrous Miss-management of our nation’s Micro, Macroeconomic policies – Fiscal & Monetary - brought the nation, finally, into the prevailing economic paralysis, such that the economy sunk into the great beyond, with exchange rate in hot pursuit.
The President Request
Now, today, apparently in the effort to introduce some remedy, the President of the Nation requests the National Legislature for legal action for a 25% reduction in salaries and benefits of all senior officials in government. However, while this effort is welcome news as a starter, but does nothing to address and treat the major problems of the Cause & Effect – POVERTY, ILLITERACY and wholesale GRAFT, GREED by and of almost all government officials, nation-wide, the reality of public dishonesty or “rampant Corruption”, now roaring and galloping!!
The Effort towards Reforms
It is extremely necessary that we begin with:
a. The Ministry of Finance & Development Planning or Development Stealing, the national Paymaster who collects something from the people he pays. This ministry is most powerful political player because it holds the key to the nation’s bank and, therefore, decides the fate of public/private institutions, their heads and other political players based on who gets what from the stolen, public wealth; and
b. The Liberia Revenue Authority or the Liberia Revenue Stealing Authority; both (Ministry of Finance & Revenue Authority) were and are Liberia’s traditional centers of “get-rich-quick Schemes” of dishonesty, with corruption sections and divisions. These public agencies believe, apparently, that taxes that they collect should and must be used, solely, for the support of the elites at the expense of the poor, hungry and, often, sick tax payer. The Commissioner-General is reportedly paid US $109, 000 per year or US $9, 083. 33 per month.
c. The Central Bank of Liberia with a Governor who is reportedly paid US $20, 000.00 a month or US $240, 000.00 per year, with benefits and allowances in a country where the average citizen lives, reportedly, on US $1.00 per day. Ex-Governor Mills Jones must now account for the huge money-give-aways in his political campaigns of his questionable Micro-Finance scheme, including the hundreds of thousands of US dollars reportedly transferred from the Central Bank to an Ecobank account as the President’s (of Liberia’s) Development Agenda Funding.
d. The President of Liberia must account for the US $1.5 million per year foreign travel budgeted allowance for her globe-travelling, including the Development Agenda Funding. Also, the President must clarify whether the nation pays housing allowance or rent, since the Executive Mansion has been idle, almost, during the President’s twelve-year term of office; also the expense for the use of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Presidential Offices.
e. The County Legislative Caucuses of the National Legislature must account for and come clean of the millions of US dollars given to the Counties for socio-economic development – Education, for Towns & villages schools, County High schools, and Community Colleges; county roads, healthcare, agricultural development and related county development.
f. Almost all Agencies of government – Finance, Foreign Affairs, Public works, Commerce, Lands & Mines, National Investment, FDA, PPCC, NEC, GSA, etc., have been, and are massively involved in stealing of public resources and corruption, including Revenue-generating, State-owned Enterprises – NPA, LPRC, NOCAL, AIRPORT AUTHORITY, MARITME AUTHORITY, ETC.
For reforms, there is urgent need to re-structure by separate financing of government operations from implementing socio-economic Planning & Development. In so doing, we guard against, and therefore, avoid the risk of conflict of interest and institutional, political power- plays, the most immediate source in deciding who or what development program gets paid and implemented.
Also, in so doing, we observe and obey Article 3 of the Constitution (1986) on Separation of Powers, with respect to the involvement of members of the National Legislature (policy- and law-making Branch of Government) and the Executive (policy implementation and law enforcement Branch of Government).