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Economy Collapses? … Former Finance Minister Talks Tough

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By: Frank P. Martin

MONROVIA: The inflation leading to the depression of the Liberian Dollars to the United States Dollars, according to former Finance Minister, M. Nathaniel Barnes, amounts to a “totally broken structure” of the Liberian economy, with unemployment being its key indicator.

Barnes asserted that many Liberians go to bed on empty stomach as a result of the prevailing negative circumstances relating to the Nation’s economy.

According to the former Finance Minister, the high rate of unemployment under the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) -led government has increased the suffering of most Liberians as the people now live in economic dungeon and abject poverty.

Barnes however added: “I don’t want to blame this problem on a single regime, but I see our people struggling on a daily basis to find daily meals, because our economy is in a dungeon, and there is a need to revert this situation that continues to stifle our people and country.”

He made these assertions in an interview on Monday, June 5, 2023, with some local reporters in the Snow Community, along the Japan Freeway, Gardnerville.

“Look, our people are suffering! There are no jobs. When you have a better economy, there will be creation of more jobs for citizens. No economy performs better without employment growth. There must be indicators that show the economy is performing well, with triggered down effects on the suffering masses. Our people must see the reflections of the economy in themselves,” he indicated.

He considered the young people of Liberia who are battling extreme poverty with no hope for the future as “heroes.”

He maintains that the Nation’s economic situation shows no definite roadmap or good foundation laid by past and current leaders of the state.

Barnes once served as Minister of Finance during the erstwhile regime of former President Charles Ghankay Taylor.

He is also Liberia’s former Ambassador to the United States during the former Administration of ex-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

“I see most of our young people struggling every day to go to school under harsh economic conditions. Some of those boys and girls are university students who have families to take care of while in school. They however find it difficult to pay their fees, least to talk about getting food to eat because of the economic environment in which they find themselves and the kind of leaders we have,” stressed Barnes who unsuccessfully contested for the Liberian presidency twice in yesteryears.

Barnes who is also presidential aspirant told the media: “We will do everything possible to kill this menace, called corruption in every governance structure of our country if we are elected. If Leaders of our country are merged into corrupt activities, how do you think infrastructural development and other government functionaries will receive budgetary allocations for their smooth operations?”

Interestingly, The Central Bank of Liberia’s (CBL), in its 2021 reports on the country’s economy pointed out that Unemployment Rate in Liberia decreased to 3.60 percent in 2022 from 3.70 percent.

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