Says Min. Tweah
MONROVIA: Amid the global economic meltdown which has negatively impacted the economy of many nations, the government of Liberia has reported that the country’s current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is US$3.5 billion.
Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah said, Liberia is not only making great economic progress under the Weah-led administration, but the current GDP as stated is “real money,” noting that during the past regime when the country experienced a growth rate of eight percent, the micro economy at the time was based on a lot of free things.
Minister Tweah said on State Radio Monday that the real progress is that Liberia has strengthened its microeconomic foundation and that the fundamentals are stronger even more than before.
The finance Minister added that the government of Liberia through its Economic Management Team (EMT) took drastic and deliberate actions to propel the country’s economy to stability.
According to him, the magical economic number was achieved partly when the government of Liberia through the EMT dropped inflation from 30 to seven percent as well as ensuring exchange rate stability among several other measures.
“When we inherited the country, the GDP was around US$3.3 – US$3.4 billion, our US$3.5 billion GDP is real money, at the time (during the UP regime) when the growth rate was eight percent, it was not real money because it was based on a lot of free things,” Minister Tweah said.
Minister Tweah cited that despite extreme difficulties it is important for the people to understand what the government is doing to address the economic difficulties that were inherited by the government because several individuals mainly from the opposition bloc predicted that the government under President Weah would have collapsed under the weight of the economic difficulties.
“The doom prediction has not materialized, it is George Weah who brought transparency to the government debt statistics”, he noted.
The Finance Minister stated that President Weah has rebased the Liberian economy on structural fundamentals and real value and that everything that will happen now and during his second term will be based on strong foundational fundamentals.
The Bread and Butter Issue and Weah Second Term Bid
Finance Minister Tweah has forecasted that President Weah second term bid is on the right trajectory due to the President’s move that brought respite to the Liberian people with primary focus on how the President addressed matters he termed as “the bread and butter issue.”
President Weah, said Tweah, has kept the price of rice – Liberia staple, down from 2018 to 2021 making the Finance Minister to wonder as to what is more bread and butter than when the price of rice is suppressed for the benefit of the people?
On the cost of electricity, he cited that electricity was 35 cents per kilowatt hours, now it is 20 to 21 cents a reflection of around 42 percent reduction.
Other key interventions include the construction of market buildings for marketers, the institution of tuition free policy at public schools and universities as well as the construction and pavement of roads throughout the country.
Among other things as contained in Minister Tweah’ analysis, by the end 2018 about 32,000 Liberians had left poverty, ending the increasing trend that began since 2014. The macroeconomic shock and other factors of 2019 took 171,000 people into poverty and COVID 19 is largely responsible for the 264,000 persons sliding into extreme poverty, since Liberia’s share of Africa’s 55 million people who went into poverty (UNECA) is around 204,000.
He said immediately after these shocks, Liberia began a strong turnaround that revised the poverty trend. In 2021, the Minister indicated that economic growth was about five percent, and the Government recorded the highest domestic revenue performance in nominal dollars to date, adding, “This is why an additional 19,000 persons came out of extreme poverty by end 2021.
Tweah maintained that the analysis shows that going into 2023 elections, the poverty trend is reducing under President Weah, which was not the case going into 2017 elections as reported by the World Bank.
Moving to the 2023 elections, Tweah emphasized that President Weah deserves more than a second term for his incredible macroeconomic performance, for stabilizing the poverty trend and working to take Unity Party’s inherited stock of 2.1 million Liberians out of poverty; for nearly doubling the road pavement ratio from six percent was the story for 170 years to now 11 percent in five years.
While surmounting the vast challenges presented by the COVID-19 and war in Ukraine; Tweah cited that Weah’s second term should be awarded because he reduced the cost of electricity from 35 cents per kilowatt hour to 20 cents for businesses and around 14 cents per kilowatt hour for the poor.
The President he said, increased electricity access to around 30 percent from a low of eight percent under Joseph Boakai’s Unity Party; for free tuition, free WASSE, market buildings for the poor mothers, Pro-poor housing units for the poor people, for more than 80 middle and high schools under construction, for more than 11 hospitals completed and nearing completion. Courtesy: LINA