Collective Leadership Engrained In Patriotism
-As President Weah Convenes First Cabinet Meeting
– Roads, Health, Education, Youth-empowerment Top List
President George Manneh Weah has convened his first historic Cabinet Meeting as Chief Executive since his inauguration on January 22, 2018 at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Monrovia before a tumultuous audience of foreign Heads of State, Special delegations and dignitaries.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader reiterated the construction of roads, health, education and youth-empowerment as top priorities of his ‘pro-poor agenda’ for the country.President Weah recalled the history-making run-off, which took place December 26, 2017 culminating into his dramatic election as Liberia’s 24th President; the official certification process by the National Elections Commission (NEC) on January 4, 2018; coupled with his epoch-inauguration of January 22, 2018. He said although he intimated in his inaugural address that he inherited a broken economy; the economy is now for us and the onus rests squarely on his administration to fix and prioritize a recovery plan for the betterment of the Liberian people.
At its first sitting, Cabinet mandated a comprehensive needs assessment of all Ministries. Agencies and Commissions (MACs) with a view to develop a roadmap for practical, achievable and realistic outcomes in the short and medium-term. Sector Ministries and Agencies are expected to report within two weeks.
Cabinet also mandated the constitution of a Committee for an Agenda for Rapid Recovery and Transformation to include the Ministries of Finance and Development Planning, Commerce, Education, Health and Public Works that will provide a guiding framework towards advancing the government’s pro-poor agenda.
Cabinet received briefings from Foreign Affairs – highlighting prevailing developments within Liberia’s Foreign Service especially the compelling need to provide progress reports from Embassies and Honorary Consular Corps abroad in light of economic dividends brought to bear during their tour of duty to inform continued representation or likely recall for consultation. The Cabinet was also brought up to speed on the need to introduce online visa services for incoming visitors to obtain visas on arrival as part of the Foreign Ministry’s 150 deliverables.
The Cabinet also received further briefings on the Justice and Rule of Law Sector; encompassing the Liberia National Police(LNP), Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), Drug Enforcement Agency(DEA) and Fire Service. The need for reform in our criminal justice system stressed; ensure the LNP is augmented to its full strength of 8,000 strong force; ardent need for decongestion at the overcrowded Monrovia Central Prison and to beef up the manpower capability at the Palace of Correction in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.
Following careful review of a recast of the National Budget for Fiscal year 2017/2018, Cabinet has in pursuit of the government’s pro-poor agenda mandated prioritizing a number of pro-poor projects including payment of WAEC/WASSE fees for 12th graders in public and private schools in Liberia; maintain traffic and streets lights and construct new street lights in Monrovia; Digital registration at the University of Liberia and provision of Wi-Fi in key locations at the main campus; Upgrade of equipment and facilities at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center; and Government-backed credit line to stimulate private sector development.
Cabinet also mandated the scrupulous execution of additional pro-poor priorities projects notably the National Identification Biometric ID issuance leading to payroll clean-up; staffing in the education sector for FY 17/18 – bringing 400 Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) teachers onto the payroll and correcting 180 underpaid personnel; professional skills development to increase the number of Liberia experts in the health sector; humanitarian outreach program by the First Lady; feasibility study for the Military Hospital; Resettlement Action Program (RAP) for the Saniquellie to Loguatuo border with Ivory Coast and Road maintenance across the country.
In a related development, Cabinet also mandated the conduct of a ‘Cabinet Retreat and Orientation’ aimed at providing insights in the business of governance, standing orders as well as rules of engagement in the execution of the business of government.
Meanwhile, President Weah has challenged his Cabinet to remain focused, patriotic, selfless and resolved regarding problem-solving. “Our approach to addressing problems will enable us rapidly achieve our goals for the greater good of the people. You will be judged effectively on account of your performance and tangible results,” the Liberian leader told members of Cabinet at their maiden meeting. Concluding, President Weah said Cabinet Ministers who fail to deliver consistent with the government’s pro-poor agenda risk replacement.