Simeon Freeman Questions Boima Kamara’s Appointment -Says, “What New Thing Does He Bring?”

MONROVIA: The Standard Bearer of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), Simeon Freeman has been critical of some of the nominations made by President Joseph N, Boakai pending confirmation, citing the specific instance of the nominee for the position of Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Boima S. Kamara.

“What new thing is he bringing to the table,” the MPC political leader wondered, stating that he is not impressed with his nomination to serve the new government in that capacity.

Responding to a question on the OK FM morning Show yesterday where he had appeared as a guest about his impression of President Boakai’s nominations, Mr. Freeman indicated, “I am not impressed with the nomination; let’s take for instance the Minister of Finance. He has been a Minister of Finance before.  We heard names like Antoinette Sayeh that also floated; she has also been a Minister of Finance before.”

He said the problem of overstaffing at the Ministry of Finance was never resolved before under their tenure, pointing out that the Ministry of Finance was not digitized or computerized at the time.

Freeman added, “At the top staffing of the Ministry where you have deputy minister for expenditure, assistant minister for expenditure; deputy minister for administration… and all the excess staffing of the ministry, there were no propositions for those people to say we can reduce this, we can refocus this, we can do that, we can do that.”

On the issue of staff, the MPC leader noted that when Madam Sirleaf came to power there were 35,000 public servants; before she left power, it was about 50,000 – 55, 000 personnel; while pointing out that President George Weah left about 70,000.

“During Boima Kasmara’s tenure, we didn’t see any methodology to invest in the private sector to reduce the wage-bill. And now that he is coming at this very difficult time, what’s new he’s bringing to the table?”

He explained that because one is appointed minister does not mean he or she is going to raise money; adding, “… if everything comes from the national envelope, it has to be part of a national program. That means it’s still structured by the vision of the President.

“What is the current governing vision? What are the clear objectives? So far President Boakai said in a 100-day (if what we heard is true) that there will be no bad roads. I didn’t hear him say that; but that is what was repeated on radio,” Mr. Freeman asserted, indicating, “If that’s what he said, those are very strong statements.”

He maintained that to fix all the roads in Liberia would need at least between six to ten billion dollars; and added that even if the government was to have 6-10 billion dollars, which he said the country didn’t have, the government won’t be able to fix the roads within one year.

“Probably it will take you another 10 years down the road before you could try to fix it,” he projected, proffering that if he were President Boakai, he won’t be looking at roads; he would rather be looking at railways which, he noted, are cheaper to build to convey a lot more cargoes and a lot more people.

“That’s why China invests in a lot of trains, that is why America invests in trains, that today they still have the trains as part of the major sources of transport”, he said.

Generally, he said the appointments of the individuals themselves, the appointments by President Boakai should be looked at to be able to figure out what these nominees have ever delivered in their careers to the society when the individuals even left these portfolios.

Asked for his take on the nomination of Madam Sara Beysolow Nyanti as Minister of Foreign Affairs, the MPC leader noted that there is already a controversy in her case, and pointed out that he needed to let the controversy about her qualification pass before her evaluation.

Concerning the nomination of Dorbor Jallah to the Liberia Revenue Authority as Commissioner General, he declined that he does not know him, but added that such appointments will need more than integrity. “We need somebody who has creativity and innovation to digitize the tax infrastructure.”

In his delivery on the LRA issue, he propounded that he has been arguing there is as need to make mobile money a medium of payment; “we spent 1.1 to 1.3 million dollars to print a billion Liberian dollars which has the lifespan of six to eight months because of the way we handle the money and the quality of our money in the first place.

The LRA, according to him, needs to work with the mobile companies, and that he can assist them in that work, and to ensure that mobile money is a way of payment because it reduces exposure to cash, and it increases accountability.

He said the government will need to do something if it should rescue the country from its state of dampened economy, stating that the country needs to operate a 24-hour economy. He also proffered the shutdown of the foreign embassies that should be represented by consulates, which in his idea will boost the economy of the country.

He also pointed out that the Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism must be shut down and that a Press Secretariat be established in the Office of the press secretary to be the clearing house of Government information; that the Liberia Broadcasting System and the Ministry of Transport should be privatized, and noted that the money generated with these will improve the quality of life and increase life expectancies.

Amongst other things, he also proposed that the government should open our airports and reduce airport charges; lift the visa regime to Liberia and establish real estate zones or zips which modernization will be beneficial to the economy and the people of Liberia.

‘Outcome of incompetence’- MPC boss

Meanwhile, Mr. Freeman said the situation that occurred at the recent inaugural program is an outcome of incompetence that was witnessed during the inauguration.

“A lot of speakers that spoke on the situation blamed the organizers. Some people said they gave him a 24-page speech (I did not see it), others say they put bullet proof-jacket on the President and that there was a long gown while there were no fans”, he said

But Mr. Simeon, said be what may, he calls it an outcome of incompetence because those who planned the program were people who were appointed by President Boakai.

President Boakai, he said, should have been consistently in touch with those appointed to plan his inauguration to ensure that the set up was inspected, to know what was happening on the ground before the program.

“President Boakai, from what is being said, apparently people did stuff for him and gave it to him. They give him 24-page speech; they told him the place was ready and he had nobody to give him prior information; there were dignitaries sitting he didn’t have the means, maybe apparently there was no money on his phone to even called people to say how was the condition of the place,” he criticized.

Freeman further said the President got there at the program when there was no water on the podium, he didn’t ask any question. So people in the Unity Party say we are taking care of a grandpa, or maybe we made a man president who is supposed to take care of 1.2 million people and is not conducting his own inauguration well.

“If the inauguration is the yardstick to go by, then that is the beginning of massive incompetence.  And if this is the incompetence we expect, then nothing is going to happen in this government,” he said, adding, “I think what we’ve seen from this program so far indicated that Joe Boakai has a Competence issue, something we must begin to tackle head-on because the people of Liberia voted  and they can never be wrong.

According to Simeon, “…when you must rescue Liberia you must rescue yourself.  You cannot exhibit incompetence at its peak then you say you rescue Liberia.”

He said amongst other things that the inauguration is the biggest task of any elected person. “When you are elected, on the day of your inauguration is when you want to make sure that you have the right impression,” he asserted, saying “The inauguration was a total disaster not only for himself, but for everybody, foreign guests, were amazed.”

He then called on President Boakai not only to ensure that those responsible are punished, but also to ensure that he openly apologized to the people of Liberia and the world.

5 Comments
  1. Jake Doe says

    Mr. Freeman, you speak as if these people even have the mind of developing a country or they have the people at heart, after the very bandits stole power in 2005 and 2011, and stayed in power for 12 consecutive years without building a single road or hospital, and kept the country in horrible darkness for the entire twelve years duration in power stealing.

    All Boakai wanted was or is to be President, but he has absolutely no vision. See what they have done with such common inauguration funds, and how this very corrupt and incompetent Boima Kamara left the country in the worst deficit since its founding.

    Or better still, see the silly confrontation between Boakai and a war criminal on the appointment of the Minister of Justice for the country.

    And with such a poor conduct on the part of Boakai, gullibles, opportunists, and stooges and other unprincipled belly driven activists people to support these bandits chasing govt jobs to loot as flies chasing half rotten mango plums.

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