UP Targets ‘Prosperous’ Liberia By 2030 -Says ARREST Agenda is Vehicle for Delivery

MONROVIA:  The Government of Liberia, under the stewardship of the Joseph Boakai-led Unity Party, has unsheathed its anti-poverty, pro-prosperity development instrument labelled Agriculture, Roads, Rule of Law, Education, Sanitation and Tourism agenda, or ARREST, reaccentuating its determination to turn the long-backward country into a middle-income nation by 2030, barely five years from now. What’s the history of the plan, how will it unfold and is it possible as promised? The government yesterday, May 30, 2024 during the regular MICAT Press Briefing took the cat out of the bag, as The Analyst reports.

The full ARREST development agenda of the governing Unity Party was formally launched with assurance to create a prosperous nation by 2030.

During the ceremony held during the regular MICAT Briefing yesterday, May 30, 2024, the Deputy Minister of Finance for Budget, Madam Tanneh Brunson, historicized that in 2012, Vision 2030 was launched to catapult the country’s development status to a middle-income country.

“The National Development Plan of the Unity Party Alliance government is in the process of preparing the last opportunity we have to achieve our aspiration”, she said.

Madam Brunson, who has been occupying her current portfolio since the era of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said the main purpose of the NDP is to provide a model for achieving sustainable development, addressing the challenges and maximizing the available resources to achieve the necessary results.

She added: “As you may probably be aware, the previous development plan which ended in 2023 was the Pro Poor Agenda. Our current government, upon inauguration, announced its manifestation called ARREST, which stands for Agriculture, Road, Rule of Law, Education, Sanitation and Tourism. This is of course a new National Development Plan that will take us to the targeted year of 2030 that was envisaged by the UP government in 2012.”

The deputy finance minister emphasized that the government was going to engage in a robust consultation with other stakeholders, including development partners, civil society organizations, the private sector actors, the women and youth organizations, the physically challenged, among others.

Also speaking at the ceremony, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Liberia, Madam Christine Umutoni, who is also Co-Chair of the National Steering Committee, said she was excited to be a part of the process and thanked President Joseph Nyuma Boakai who is the Chairman of the National Steering Committee for finding her worthy to be so appointed to the position.

She promised to do her utmost best to make relevant contribution to the committee, lauding

Liberians for the initiative “being something that you have created yourselves but you will have to work towards making it successful”.

She urged the government to make the process inclusive by engaging in broad-based consultations with all stakeholders “because this is for the Liberian people and not one particular group of people”.

Also Giving an update on the National Development Plan process, J. Wellington Barchue, Assistant Minister for Development Planning at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, said there were six blocks formulated in the Vision 2030 in 2012. He  named them as economic prosperity, social and demographic harmony, democracy, environmental sustainability, cultural vibrancy and technological innovation.

He said since 2012, there has been 3 various NDPs beginning with the Agenda for Transformation (2012-2017), the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (2018-2023), and the new version, ARREST AGENDA for Inclusive Development which will take off this year, 2024 and terminated in 2029.

Barchue said there is a perfect alignment of the ARREST AGENDA to the National Budget sector and gave a breakdown of the synergy with agriculture being linked to energy and environment and industry and commerce, roads with infrastructure and basic services and energy and environment and rule of law with security and rule of law, local and municipal government, public administration, transparency and accountability.

Speaking further, the assistant finance minister said the education component was linked with Gender (social development services), sanitation to health, energy and environment and municipal, while tourism is to industry and commerce, environment and agriculture

Barchue gave the roadmap to the national development planning process, listing the planning and organization, national and subnational stakeholders’ engagement and formulation of NDP, CDAs, including PSIP.

Expanding further on the planning and organization component, he explained that the process of identification of stakeholders – civil society organizations, private sector representatives, government institutions, youth and women organizations, religious institutions, academia and physically challenged – has begun and that the committee has gotten no objection to proceed with procurement of consultancy firms and logistics.

He said the concept note and roadmap of the process was adopted by the cabinet on Saturday, May 25, 2024 and that President Boakai has named the coordination committee, a long list of individuals and institutions which Barchue read out at the program.

“We can assure you that we are well on course with this new national development plan which is the manifesto of the Unity Party Alliance to deliver development in all sectors to our people,” Barchue said.

He said the official launch of the consultative process will be held on June 17 and end on the 24th, 2024 beginning with Montserrado County and then extending to all the remaining 14 counties.

Assistant Minister Barchue said the Coordinating Structure established by the President includes the Steering Committee, the Coordinating Team, and the National Technical coordinating team.

Earlier, the Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Mr. Jerolinmek Piah, as usual opened the interaction, stating that the government attached serious commitment to redeeming every iota of its electoral promises to the Liberian people.

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