President George Manneh Weah election and subsequent inauguration on January 22, 2018 presents not only an opportunity to liberate the suffering masses from the plague of poverty but a platform to tap on young talents for the forward march of Liberia.
Not even the staunchest critics can ‘say a peep’ about his strong commitment to develop the country’s best young brains to deliver on the government Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity Development (PAPD).
The likes of Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee who is beating the odds to rebrand the City; Kwame Oldpa Weeks, a visionary young man who is ‘daring do’ as Director General of the Liberia News Agency (LINA) are few amongst many examples of the Liberian leader commitment to help young people find their niche and assist the country’s reconstruction drive.
And so, on June 20, 2018, President Weah appointment of Moses Owen Browne, Jr. Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) did not come as a surprise to many. But it further solidifies his desire to make the empowerment of young people a thrust in building a new and prosperous Liberia.
From his days as an advocate for education, representing millions of underprivileged youth at the 70th general assembly of the United Nations in New York USA, to an advocacy in 2014 to the International community and donor countries for adequate funding to end the Ebola virus disease that was raging, Moses Browne’s character epitomizes the audacity to see Liberia developed, a fete that can be replicated into adequately representing Liberia’s interest at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
In an interview, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Moses Owen Browne intimated he would lobby amongst others for significant investments in the comatose domestic maritime sector, expanding maritime revenue base and employment of Liberians onboard Liberian flag ships.
He said “Liberia was once at Category A at the IMO making significant contributions and as well benefiting from the proceeds of being at Level A, but that is history. We are now at Category C. I intend to use this platform and opportunity afforded me to lobby, advocate, negotiate to bring Liberia back to Category A”.
“The Liberia Marine Training Institute (LMTI) currently has 24 students being trained in relevant Engineering courses. This barely scratches the surface of the man-power problem we face. These students are trained with nowhere to practice”, he mentioned.
Commenting on the need to expand the revenue base, he maintained “This sector is grossly under-harnessed and its contribution to the national economy reveals this stark reality. To wit; Contribution to GDP is put at a meagre 3%. Contribution to government Revenue is largely from registration fees at the Liberian Registry less 20% agency fee, Licensing fees collected by LMA and duties paid to the National Port Authority”.
On employment, he said “the numbers are worse. Other than fishing sub-sector which is estimated to employ approximate 40,000 Liberians who mostly use crude implements for their trade, there is no activity in the maritime sector that gainfully employs Liberian citizens. There is no evidence of presence of Liberian workforce on any of the 4325 Vessels registered under her Flag”.
He explained “The Legal Regime for the sector does not focus on providing enabling environment for private capital to be attracted into the sector for its development and growth. Therefore, its contribution as a source of investments into the national economy has been very poor over the years.
Human capacity development in the Sector is alarmingly low as it remains at the most subsistent and basic levels of traditional artisanship”.