Weah Will Succeed
-PATEL Boss Affirms
The National Chairman of the Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL) Mr. Presley S. Tenwah has expressed optimism that the government of President George Manneh Weah will be a success story, as long as he remains committed to seeking the welfare of the Liberian poor people through his pro-poor agenda.
Speaking to the Public Agenda Newspaper in an interview at his office in Sinkor on Wednesday, Mr. Tenwah said among the pre-conditions for needed for President Weah to succeed, he should be mindful that he alone will not succeed in developing this country, but with the participation of the common Liberian people.“The President needs to be with the people, sit with them and feel their problems in a similar way that he recently led an array of government officials to eat in a local cook-shop or restaurant. And I hope that positive changes will be reflected in the lives of people that meet the President as it happens in other countries,” Tenwah said.
The outspoken PATEL leader noted the success of this pro-poor agenda administration will depend on their interaction with the common people such as people in civil society organizations (CSOs), pastors and Imams, students, marketers, traditional people and workers in the private sector.
“I want President Weah’s administration to succeed because he represents the young generation of Liberians. For example, it will pay dividends that when he is going abroad let him go with him people from the private sector such as students, traditional leaders, as the support of the private sector means that he has a driving force and a support base behind him,” he said.
He added that when there is a crisis somewhere, let the President himself go there and resolve it, rather than sending a minister or someone, bearing in mind that in Liberia we are good for undermining, corruption and creating disunity, nepotism, manipulating differences which are all challenges that President Weah will tackle or confront as they arise if he is to succeed.
“I want President Weah to be the people’s president as he did recently when we organized a 3-day protest, the President came and sat down with us and understood our points in the spirit of the pro-poor agenda. Bur using or relying on the advices given by only the few people close to you, can sometimes lead to them misleading you,” MrTenwah said.
Touching on the sensitive issue of the rising and fluctuating foreign exchange in the country, where one US dollar can now be changed for LD$138, $139 or $140 Liberian dollars, Mr. Tenwah recommended that the Central bank of Liberia (CBL) should stop issuing licenses to money-changers on the black-market as a measure to curtail inflation and the deflation in the Liberian economy.
“Giving money to people without a financial data is dangerous for the economy and a source of the high exchange rate on the parallel market. They may have USD$200 Million hidden in their bags or at home that are unknowing to government to monitor, which makes it difficulkt for the CBL to know how much money we have in the country in circulation,” he said.
Explaining further, Mr. Tenwah said once the CBL is unable to control and monitor the black market rate except rates set by commercial banks, the prices of goods and commodities on the Liberian market will always not be stable. And despite the inconsistencies one can easily be able to impose fines on commercial banks and not the black-market money changers.
The PATEL chairman and Founder is therefore urging government not only to close down foreign exchange operations but to also encourage and prioritize mechanized farming and local production to set the country on a trajectory to grow what is locally consumed such as rice, chicken, eggs, pepper, farina among others, rather than importing from other countries such as China, India, Pakistan, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone.
Dilating on the Liberianization policy, Mr. Tenwah stated that he can vividly remember President Weah saying in his inauguration address that Liberians would not be spectators, in their own economy. He said this was a wake-up call that Liberians are welcome to engage in business as foreigners continue to play a dominant role in the Liberian business sector.
“What I feel President Weah should do is to call on the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) to mandate a 50% reduction of fees charged for the clearing of containers and goods from thes Port exclusively for Liberian businesses, as a way of empowering them, considering that this will not drop revenue intake as only few Liberians are engaged in importing goods from China, USA and other places,” he said.
He however stressed that PATEL which he heads is a non-political organization which is why during the last election that brought the CDC led administration to power they remained neutral and in the run-off presidential elections they supported neither Boakai nor Weah.
“As part of our objectives, we support the Liberian people and advocate for the empowerment of the Liberian business entrepreneurship. We encourage the participation of Liberians in business,” he concluded.