Home Economy “Good Progress” In Corruption Fight …Says IMF; Backs Amended LACC Act

“Good Progress” In Corruption Fight …Says IMF; Backs Amended LACC Act

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By: Staff Writer

MONROVIA: The International Monetary Fund (IMF), has described as “good progress” the recently passed restated Act of Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).

The IMF, in a statement issued on Tuesday, September 14, 2022, mentioned that “Stepping up the fight against corruption remains a top priority. The recent adoption of the amended Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) Act, the new Whistle-blower and Witness Protection Act, and the revised Code of Conduct, is good progress. Swift implementation is now key.”

The IMF, a respected global financial institution maintained that Liberia continues to implement sound macroeconomic policies despite delays with the broad-based reform agenda.

“Macro-economic stability is set to strengthen further with the planned modernization of Liberia’s monetary policy framework and the ongoing currency changeover, provided operational risks are appropriately mitigated,” the statement added.

The IMF’s recognition followed its Executive Board’s completion of the 2022 Article IV consultation and the fourth review under the ‘Extended Credit Facility’ (ECF) with Liberia.

“Today’s decision allows for an immediate disbursement of SDR 17 million (about US$ 22.1 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 85 million (about US$ 110.7 million),” the IMF indicated.

The four-year arrangement, with total access of SDR 155 million (60 percent of quota or about US$214.30 million) was approved by the IMF Executive Board on December 11, 2019.

The IMF statement on Liberia also provided an outlook of the country’s macro and micro economic positions in the past and preceding fiscal year.

Accordingly, it says, Liberia experienced a strong economic recovery in 2021. Growth is expected to soften to 3.7 percent in 2022, largely due to heightened global uncertainties and commodity price shocks, which are pushing inflation into the double-digits.

“The supplementary budget for 2022 aims primarily to mitigate pressures on food prices and stabilize the state-owned electricity company. To limit the temporary widening of the fiscal deficit, the authorities have streamlined non-priority spending, while largely preserving the significant increase of public investment relative to previous years, made possible by partial use of the IMF’s 2021 SDR allocation to Liberia,” the IMF added.

The IMF is however encouraging the government to press ahead with fiscal structural reforms to make public services and public enterprises more efficient and to secure more permanent space for adequate public investment while preserving debt sustainability.

Also, the Progress with mobilizing domestic revenues, according to the IMF, should be built upon, including by streamlining tax exemptions.

‘Efforts to address capacity constraints that hamper selection, preparation, and execution of public investment projects need renewed impetus.’

Following the Executive Board discussion, Mr. Bo Li, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, made the following statement: “The authorities managed to keep the program broadly on track by preserving macroeconomic stability, ensuring a comfortable international reserve position, and maintaining debt sustainability.

In 2018, President George Weah pledged his administration’s commitment to end systemic and unbridle corruption in Liberia but with five years on, financial dishonesty has increased, leading to the US Treasury Department sanction against three top government officials for public corruption.

“I believe that the overwhelming mandate that I received from the Liberian people is a mandate to end corruption in public service, I promised to deliver on this mandate,” Pres. Weah declared in 2018 during his inaugural address to the nation.

However, the US Treasury Department recently sanctioned former State and Presidential Affairs Minister, Nathaniel McGill; former National Port Authority Managing Director, Bill Tweahway; and former Solicitor General, Saymah Cyrenius Cephus for corruption of public money and other resources.

With high expectation placed on the Coalition for Democratic Change led government to fight corruption, ordinary Liberians and independent observers have called for Legislation that will enable anti-graft institutions, such as the LACC to effectively function by dealing with the spread of corruption.

Interestingly, however, the government in 2022 passed a land mark legislation granting prosecutorial power to the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission, a step that has generated praises.

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