Attracting Investors Is Always A Priority
What is sometimes overlooked by many critics who sit on the fence and make conclusions out of the figments of their own imaginations, is that they often utterly fail to realize that it would be difficult to find any government in Africa nowadays that is not concerned about, or that has little concern about attracting investors to boost economic growth?Economic growth is of course, ensuring that those elements that raise the leverage of the National Budget are put into place, and that real development is taking place in the country and in the lives of the citizens of the country collectively and individually.
Saying that government is doing little or nothing to attract investors is a far-fetched conclusion in an economy where a government inherited barely half a billion dollars national budget per annum, in other words a little over US$500,000 while the task ahead of that budget is very enormous including the payment of salary, pensioners, recurrent budget, engage in infrastructural and human development initiatives and payment of debts.
It is also important to always bear in mind that if one is to analyze the development situation in Liberia objectively and constructively, the challenges that the government of President George Manneh Weah inherited when they came to power on January 22, 2018 are enormous and were not accumulated overnight but within a time-frame that spans decades even prior to the protracted Liberian civil unrest.
According to Deputy Information Minister for Technical Services Hon. BoakaiFofana, the fact that the Liberia revenue Authority (LRA) now headed by Counselor Doe Nah, who took over recently is recording increased revenue intake within a relatively short time compared to the stagnancy that characterized revenue collection over the years is a tacit reminder of an emerging paradigm shift for the better.
What critics often look at is the short-term impact on the performance of the economy from January 22, 2018 to the present, as a yardstick to conclude that the economy is not doing well, and that government’s development framework, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity (PADP) is in their opinion is a failure.
But they are not looking at the investments made in preparing the development plan, the PADP itself not only by the government of President Weah, but by the international community as well, that is the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, among others within the context of global partnership for development.
In other words when investors are not coming and the economy is stagnant it is the concern of not only Liberia, but the international community as well noting that everyone is on board to ensure economic growth. In this perspective, the Liberian government and the international community mentioned above, have outlined how they feel Liberia can get out of its development stagnation.
Government’s PADP development plan is therefore not the idea of President George Weah or his government alone, on the way forward for Liberia to be developed, including attracting investors and new investments. All stakeholders have agreed on the points that economic growth in Liberia and attracting investments depend on,among others, investing in paved roads connectivity, developing electricity and the quality of theeducational system, and providing the peaceful and security enabling environment.
Let us for example look at tourism. Liberia is endowed with an attractive natural beauty that that can be an attraction point for new investments, such as the areas and cities where there are paved roads such as Ganta, the undevelopedKpatawe Water-Falls, the BlueLake in Bomi County, among others to the extent that any investor investing in hotels and other tourist resorts in these areas are sure of fabulous profits.
But as tourism experts themselves are aware, it will be hard to develop Liberia’s tourist potentials without first of all investing in paved roads to connect to these places, without providing steady and reliable sources of electricity, the labor and the infrastructures. These should have been done by successive governments long ago probably in the 190s or in the 1970s in the 1980s but the country’s political situation did not provide the enabling environment.
President Weah’s CDC administration therefore today finds itself in a predicament that is well known to every rightful thinking Liberian and the donor international community to the extent that it would be a wrong judgment to blame the present government for all the development deficits that now been captured little by little in the short, medium and long term measures.
As President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania once reiterated,‘when it comes to development, African countries must run while developed countries walk’. The CDC government’s priorities are many including a projected pavement of 11,000 kilometers of roads across the country, the pavement of community roads around Monrovia and its environs, such as the Logan town road.
Others are: the ELWA Junction to Redlight Road, the Somalia Drive, ensuring electricity not only in Monrovia but across the country, paying WAEC fees, providing digital registration and free tuition at the University of Liberia and state-run universities, cleaning education ministry payrolls, among others. Government also anticipates refurbishing paved roads in Liberia’s major cities such as Buchanan, Kakata and Gbarnga while plans for the Sanniquelie to Yekepa road, Gbarnga to Salayea and Voinjama road and Logatuo to Ganta roads are on course.
What else can be done given the above circumstances? By John L. Momoh