It was barely a week following the successful conclusion of the National Economic Dialogue (NED) which proffered a range of recommendations, aimed at salvaging the ailing Liberian economy, that the President of Liberia, George Weah constituted Cabinet Subcommittees with a mandate to act as expeditiously and appropriately as possible.
President Weah as promised during the three-day national event, has established with immediate effect, the Public Finance Mobilization and Management Subcommittee, the Investment and Private Sector Growth Subcommittee, the Unemployment and Skills Development Subcommittee, and the Peace Building and Reconciliation Subcommittee.
The Liberian Leader named the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to chair the Cabinet Subcommittee on Public Finance Mobilization and Management and to be co-chaired by the Ministry of Commerce.
This is seen as a significant step in sticking to his word that “recommendations from the Dialogue would be taken under serious advisement, and, where and when necessary, would be backed with the political will required for successful implementation”.
The various subcommittees are to work closely with the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs and charged with a specific role to improve coordination to achieve results-based management.
They are to link the NED Resolutions to the Government’s flagship development agenda, Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) ensuring implementation of the President's mandate from the event.
Part of the agenda is to plan and participate in the Annual National Economic Dialogue (ANED), report to the entire cabinet on successes, challenges and way forward, as well as communicate activities and achievements to the public.
Additionally, President Weah has requested the 54th National Legislature, to advise and provide guidance on all legislative and other necessary measures necessary for the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, including the establishment of economic and war crime courts in Liberia—a major recommendation from the NED conference.
The National Economic Dialogue held September 4-6, 2019 proffered four cardinal recommendations to address Liberia’s challenges on immediate and medium terms basis.
They included strategies to revive and grow the economy such as addressing public finance mobilization and management, investment and private sector growth, unemployment and skills development and the peacebuilding and reconciliation.
It was attended by 350 participants that included government officials and representatives from political parties, youth, women, development partners, civil society organizations, and institutions of higher learning,
It was the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that responded to a call from the Government of Liberia (GoL) for a National Economic Dialogue (NED), to examine the state of the economy in search of a way forward.
This was in response to an understanding reached between GoL and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to formulate a “new program” that would seek to restore economic growth and prosperity in Liberia.
UNDP Liberia Resident Representative Pa Lamin Beyai said the Dialogue was a collective effort to revive the Liberian economy and achieve sustainable development by according Liberians of all persuasions the opportunity to discuss the path to economic recovery.
“In that effort, first, we should not underestimate the challenges the Liberian economy faces in terms of structural deficits and imbalances —including inflation, unbalanced budget, and slow growth” stressed Beyai.
He urged Liberians not be deterred by the magnitude of the challenges, but use the Dialogue as a national platform to devise feasible strategies and proffer workable solutions that would overcome Liberia’s economic difficulties, and collectively agree on how those strategies will be implemented.
It is no secret that Liberia faces a number of significant economic structural challenges that risk achieving sustainable growth and macroeconomic stability.
These include; slow economic growth and rising prices; balance of payments deficits and depreciation of the Liberian currency; weak private sector, and mounting pressures on the national budget, to name a few.
UNDP Liberia mobilized resources and partnership through strategic actors and development partners- European Union, USAID, Peacebuilding Fund, and ECOWAS to lead the process of organizing the dialogue.
The NED provided a useful platform for national stakeholders to among other things: distill required policy actions to implement specified strategies in the National Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development; propose new innovative policy directions, strategies and programs; and build national consensus and momentum behind the stipulated policies, strategies and programs.