Weah Puts Cabinet Members On Notice  -“No Room for Non-Performers & Under-Achievers,” He Warns

MONROVIA – With technically a year and half left before President George Manneh Weah ends his first six year term in office, and to possibly seek a renewal, many are counting what would be his legacy—what has he achieved to the delight of the people, mainly the electorate. Indeed, the President does not seem to be oblivious of this concern as well, which is why he convened a brainstorming exercise of his cabinet in Ganta, Nimba County, for four days to take stock of progress and strategize for the coming months. After listening to bundles of somewhat impressive PowerPoint presentations by almost all government ministries, agencies and commissions, and apparently anxious to take a clean slate to the 2023 general and presidential elections, Dr. Weah has increased pressure on his team to double up in order to meet and if possible surpass his development targets promised in 2017, thereby threatening that he would not tolerate non-performing officials. The Analyst reports.  

The four-day cabinet retreat by the administration of President George Manneh Weah has ended in Ganta, Nimba County following exhaustive hours of performance reporting by nearly all public entities and discussions on how to keep the pace to deliver the good to the Liberian public.

At the close of the retreat, President George Manneh Weah in his closing remarks gave marching orders to his officials to increase their performance, prioritize the needs and well-being of the citizens, work together to improve service delivery and system of governance as well as coordinate and communicate to achieve the strategic priorities of the government, adding that there will be no room for non-performers and under-achievers in his administration.

Delivering his closing remarks yesterday, Wednesday, July 13, 2022 at Peace Empire Hotel, venue of the program, President gave a recap of the event and expressed excitement that the participants took meticulous look at all the presentations from the various Ministries, Agencies and Commissions that were useful and insightful to the objective of what the government hoped to achieve for the citizens of the country, reminding the officials that the first term of the government has not ended as it still has 16 more months and that they must finish strong for the Liberian people.

“I am indeed pleased that we have come to a successful conclusion of this all-important Retreat,” the President said in the statement. “Over the past few days, we have had very enriching and insightful conversations on the key issues affecting national development, including but not limited to the economy, accountability and transparency, the Legislative agenda, infrastructure, and most importantly, performance and coordination in Government.”

He noted that the administration used the retreat to review progress made over the past years since the inception of his Government and where they want Liberia to be in the final year of the first mandate given to the administration by the Liberian People.

The obviously excited President thanked each and every one of his administration for their invaluable contributions over the last few years toward national growth and development, which according to him has certainly powered the significant gains they have made as a Government as they have worked within the framework of our national development plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) and also appreciated them for their participation in the Retreat at every level.

He went further to commend them for the seriousness attached to the event, stating hat during the past few days, he and his officials were bold enough to ask some of the tough questions and accept their challenges and shortcomings in moving the Nation and development agenda forward.

“These deliberations have strengthened our resolve to make Liberia better than where we met it, and will enable us to better focus on the Government’s priorities for the next 16 months,” he said.

To enforce what was discussed at the Retreat in order to achieve the government’s  development objectives and finish its first term strong, the President instructed the Director-General of the Cabinet to ensure that every member of the Government remains focused  on its strategic priorities for the next 16 months, cautioning them that ahead lies a greater responsibility to ensure the successful implementation of the plans derived at the retreat.

He expressed the hope that the theme of the retreat which was “Pushing Forward For A Better Liberia”, continues to resonate with the officials as they departed Nimba.

On the sideline of the retreat, President Weah made good use of his presence in Nimba County to tour various towns and communities, holding discussions with citizens, inspecting and dedicating a number of projects undertaken by his administration in fulfillment of some of the promises he made to the citizens during the maiden nationwide county tour held last year.

Though the President had repeatedly said that his trip was to have a retreat with his government officials and to tour the county with the view of seeing for himself the level of progress being made on projects being embarked upon by his government, it was difficult to divorce his presence in the county to his ambition of seeking re-election to the presidency next year for which the citizens in no time turned the whole visit into a political carnival endorsing him to seek for re-election in 2023.

At a well-attended meeting he held with traditional leaders in Ganta City which was attended by Senator Prince Y. Johnson, the undisputed kingmaker in Nimba County and his counterpart, Jeremiah Kpang Koune, President Weah was assured that he should count the county in his kitty against 2023 and that they will do everything in their power to make sure the objective is achieved.

Speaking on behalf of the citizens, Senator Johnson who repeatedly chanted and re-echoed the “Nimba for You 2023” mantra assured Weah that the county is reserved for him to which the President thanked the elders and people of the Nimba for their extraordinary support towards his government.

He assured them that he will continue to do the best for the people in promoting development in the county.

As a gesture of their appreciation for the President’s visit and efforts towards the development of the county, the elders presented 2 cows along with several goats to him.

Meanwhile, similar pledges for support towards the re-election of President Weah in 2023 were re-echoed in Bahn, Saclepea, Sanniquellie City and other places that the President visited as the citizens said they were resolved to give the President a second term.

As prelude to the commencement of the retreat, President Weah took part in a basketball match held between the Cabinet and the Ganta Oldtimer Sports Association where he scored the lone and winning goal of the match in favor of the Cabinet.

He then proceeded to the Ganta United Inland Church of Liberia on the Ganta-Sanniquellie Highway where besides worshipping he led a rally to raise funds towards the Children Ministry where substantial amount was raised and pledges of $10,000, 1, 000 bags of cement and 500 steel roads from the Cabinet was made.

An adjustment was made in some of the activities earlier planned to take place, thus pushing the presentation from the Ministries, Agencies and Commissions (MACs) for Sunday to Monday, July 11, 2022, during which the program officially commenced.

Shortly after the arrival of President George Manneh Weah who chaired the event, and following his usual jokes apparently meant to cheer up the participants, Jordan Sulunteh, Director of Cabinet and moderator of the program announced the commencement of the program.

Reporting earlier on the first day were the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Central Bank of Liberia, the Liberia Revenue Authority, the General Auditing Commission, the Public Procurement Concessions Commission, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Internal Audit Agency.

The second session began with the presentation of the Minister of Agriculture, Ms. Jeanie Cooper who recalled the mandate given to her by President Weah upon her appointment.

According to her, the mandate was to work towards the realization of the vision for the transformation of the agriculture sector with emphasis placed on attainment food security and self-reliance, increasing access to finance for the sector, expanding the cultivation of cash crops, improving the value chain through value addition to the country’s cash crops, etc. She said her stewardship at the Ministry has been working assiduously to implement the agenda despite the challenges being faced by the country such as the advent of the Covid-19 which according to her broke out shortly after her appointment

The Minister of Finance and Development Planning Samuel D. Tweah Jr, who gave the overview of the Pro Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity(PADP), the flagship national development plan of the government said that there has been significant progress with the economy in the past years under the stewardship of President George Manneh Weah despite what he called the monstrous global challenges plaguing the world, noting that the government has managed to address some of the fundamental issues that have served as stumbling blocks to the progress of the nation.

The tough talking economist in a synopsis of progress made during the period under review, list stabilized wage bill of civil servants, increase revenue, the breaking of the obstacles towards a workable retirement pension system, the achievement of growth rate of 4%, fiscal discipline, prudent management of the economy, the strict adherence to the Public Financial Management law, good governance and a favorable business climate, rebuilding the confidence in the banking sector as well as the improving on the credit rating of the government from the highest debt distress status to a moderate distress status etc, adding that these feats were only made possible by the political will exhibited by President Weah.

On the challenges, he stated that it was important to note that the government inherited a broken economy with serious structural fundamentals coupled with the Ebola crisis that had a turbulent imprint on the productive capacity of the country and the external shocks from the downward spiral of the prices of Liberia’s major export.

With the aid of a PowerPoint presentation, Minister Tweah displayed graphical analysis on the performance of the economy especially with the impact of inflation which was high in 2019 and measures taken by the government to trim it down to 5% and the growth trend of some of the indicators in the economy.

“There was a peak period of inflation in 2019 but it has nothing to do with the outcome of any policy adopted by the government at the time. It has to do with the global shocks that also saw the prices of commodities going up and the macroeconomic disturbance that also affected a number of countries worldwide including our trading partners. The government was able to respond to these challenges by stabilizing the price of food and gasoline prices, which has on the one hand declined our revenue as a way of keeping inflation low and cushioning the effect of this instability”, he said.

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