Weah Defends GoL’s Flagship Agenda -Says PAPD Seeks To Place Country on Growth Trajectory

For nearly all of its first year in office, the Government of President George Manneh was without a written development plan, something that attracted opposition criticism that the then infantile administration was like a navigator without a map. But before the end of 2018 came a voluminous strategy dossier called the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD)—the principal roadmap that has largely driven the socioeconomic and political strategy of the government. Critics have had their misgivings about the PAPD and its achievements. On yesterday, April 11, 2022, the Government and its partners converged at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town to review its implementation progress. The Chief Author and Navigator was on hand to defend the originality and achievements of the Plan, as The Analyst reports.

Amid claims and counterclaims between opponents and officials of Government regarding the relevance and achievements of the Government’s development agenda, President George Manneh Weah has been putting up a stiff defense, stating that the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development remains the best expression of “our collective ambition to achieve peace, prosperity, and national development”.

He said the plan addresses the critical constraints to growth, such as   regional disparity, low human capacity, and the poor distribution of our national wealth”.

“Over the last three years,” the President indicated “that tremendous efforts have been made to meet the expectations of the Liberian people through massive investment in road infrastructure, the expansion of the electricity network in both rural and urban areas, investment in health and education. In health we have moved to provide new health facilities and to address challenges to the quality of care”.

In remarks during PAPD Steering Committee Meeting at the EJS Ministerial Complex Monrovia Liberia, President Weah reported that, in education, “we are building nearly 100 new schools and have taken steps to bring more Liberians into higher education by abolishing payment of tuition fees at public colleges and universities and have reduced the burden on parents by having Government pay the West African examination fees for 12th graders.”

In 2019, according to the Liberian leader, while on the path of development, macroeconomic shocks that began in 2018 gravely affected the PAPD—a shock that was followed by the COVID pandemic, which the world is now living with.

“Considering these challenges, the Government had to revise and recalibrate the ambitions of the PAPD,” the President noted. “Despite these revisions, the PAPD remains on course and has been able to achieve a lot, while still dealing with numerous challenges. In the course of these recent difficulties, we moved swiftly as a Government to prioritize public expenditure and aggressively grow domestic revenue.”

President Weah recalled that it was on October 27, 2018 that his leadership launched the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) for the years 2018 to 2023 in Ganta, Nimba County.

“The PAPD is a framework for inclusion, more equitable distribution of our national wealth, and a rights-based approach to national development,” he said. “It aligns our national plans with the African Union Agenda 2063 and the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the vision of ECOWAS.”

According to him, the development of the PAPD was a broad based consultative process that included all stakeholders including agencies of the government, development partners, the UN systems, Civil Society organizations and the private sector.

He asserted: “The aim of the PAPD is to place Liberia on a higher trajectory of inclusive economic growth, secure peace and democracy, reduce poverty, solve infrastructure constraints in roads, electricity, port and telecommunications; improve agriculture, transform governance, improve the business climate   and provide the means for private sector led growth.”

The President said it was important that “we come together to take stock of what we have achieved collectively over the last three to four years of the PAPD and face the challenges of the future together”.

“I am glad that we have all gathered here today at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex to hold this important Steering Committee Meeting on the gains, challenges and future of the PAPD.”

He expressed his gratitude to the Cabinet, to Development Partners, and to friends of Liberia for the tremendous support towards the implementation of the PAPD.

“Let me especially thank the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning for coordinating with all stakeholders to arrive at this Steering Committee meeting after holding several pillar and sector meetings,” the President said.

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