President George Manneh Weah is calling on the Management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) and the Ministry of Justice to work closely together to enforce the country’s power theft law.
It is said that the LEC loses up to 60 percent of its earning to power theft.
Speaking at the final closing ceremonies of the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) Wednesday, April 28, 2021, president Weah said: “I am charging the LEC management and the Ministry of Justice to cooperate on enforcing the power theft law. It is my understanding that the LEC has organized community programs to prevent power theft. We must do all we can to stop the leakage of revenue to the LEC and the Government is committed to doing its part.”
The Liberian leader asserted that his Government is also committed to paying its electricity bill to LEC.
“When I became President in 2018 and under very difficult financial circumstances, the Government settled all LEC arrears left by the previous administration, which stood at almost $9 Million United States Dollars,” the President said. “Last April, even as we were in the midst of the Corona virus pandemic, the Government became current and owed LEC zero dollars. As a Government, we are committed to paying our bill and we will continue to make LEC payments an expenditure priority for this Administration.”
He said as things are being worked out toward a new compact, “we must ensure that this current Compact comes to a successful close by addressing all outstanding challenges.”
One of these challenges, Dr. Weah said, is the lack of transformers and meters for accountable distribution of power.
“In this regard, Government, through the LEC, is now providing transformers to various communities and meters to many homes that have not had these items for many years. We urge the Management to move very fast on installing the new meters because this lack of meters is part of the power theft story.”
He hailed the Compact which he said facilitated a new approach to road maintenance by enabling evidence-based maintenance planning.
“We now have a Road Asset Management System that will be regularly updated with data on our roads, which will allow us to develop annual road maintenance plans,” President Weah said. “Our road maintenance program will be funded by the National Road Fund, which will ensure sustainable financing of our road projects.”
He added: “Today, we will commission the raw water pipeline, an $18.5 Million component of the Compact that will deliver raw water from Mount Coffee to the water treatment plant at White Plains. This raw water I understand will be free of salt intrusion that takes place in the St. Paul River basin, thus improving the quality of water that will be supplied by the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation to Monrovia and its environs.
He paid special tribute Liberia’s country teams in successfully implementing the compact, under the able leadership of the MCC Resident Country Director and the Chief Executive Officer of the Liberia Millennium Challenge Account.
“On behalf of the People of Liberia, I extend our deepest gratitude and profound appreciation to the People of the United States for this gracious and transformative gift, which is in full alignment with our national development program,” he noted further, adding: “Reducing poverty, which is the objective of the Compact, is the hallmark of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity, and I and my Government will continue to work diligently until we lift every Liberian out of the cycle of poverty.”
President Weah also recognized the efforts of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of the Republic of Liberia, for initiating this compact.
He thanked other personalities, including Amb. Linda Thomas Greenfield, former Ambassador of the United States of America, Madam Christine Elder, former Ambassador of the United States of America.
“And to our Vice President, Jewel Howard Taylor and also to members of the 53rd National Legislature for rectifying this instrument. And let me not forget, that I was the co-chair too,” the President said.
He said the Millennium Challenge Compact grant of $257 Million marks a significant high point in US-Liberia relations, as it represents the largest non-emergency assistance ever given to Liberia by the United States.
President Weah said the Millennium Challenge Corporation enjoys broad-based bi-partisan support within the US Congress, which makes the compact a true reflection of the support of the American people to the people of Liberia.
“Liberia is fortunate to be among a very few countries in the world that became eligible for a Millennium Challenge Compact. Our selection puts us in a privileged group of beneficiary countries that have performed with distinction when it comes to democratic rights and the control of corruption as reflected in what is known as the MCC country scorecard.”
He said such a significant support brings along with it an urgent responsibility to build upon the gifts of the American people by ensuring that the projects undertaken are protected, used for their intended purposes, and managed in a sustainable manner.
“As President of Liberia, I take this responsibility seriously and hereby assure the American People that my government will prioritize the due care required of the investments made under the compact,” the President averred.
The Chief Executive continued: “Liberia will not remain complacent with only one compact, but we will make it our mission to strive for a second compact, as other countries have done before us. Eligibility for a compact requires that a country should score at least ten (10) out of twenty (20) points on the MCC country scorecard. Two years ago Liberia scored eight (8) points, and last year we scored nine (9) points. In order to ensure that Liberia’s performance on the MCC scorecard is realized, I have directed the MCC Compact Eligibility Committee to work closely with the US Government and MCC to enable us to qualify for another Compact in future.”
Meanwhile, President George Weah toured the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) and Commission the Raw Water Pipeline, Mt. Coffee Powerhouse, Harrisburg, yesterday, April 28, 2021.