During his first year, President George Manneh Weah at the head of his young political administration, was overwhelmed by extremely high public expectations and a bad economy inherited. With no choice, the President braved the storm with an iron determination to put some smiles on the faces of the population. He had to reduce his salary and the salaries of all his appointees, to abandon office to ensure progress on the field was being made and to resist the temptation of buying new cars and other capital goods; all to save money for pro-poor projects, many of which were initiated and some completed. Moving forward, the President appears agile and passionate to continue on the pace or perhaps increase the pace. Seeking free hand to do so, he has proffered a number of legislations for ratification towards the realization of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD). The Analyst reports.
Just few weeks into the second year of his presidency, Head of State George Manneh Weah is showing all signs of readiness and potency to push his Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) to higher frontiers in the New Year. To achieve this strategically and legally, the President has rolled out a number of legislations to underpin and guard the implementation of the flagship development mantra, the PAPD.
Delivering his Annual Message Monday, January 28, 2019, the President disclosed that bills to be forwarded to the Legislature for ratification include an Act to Ratify and Authorize the Payment by the Government of Liberia of tuition fees for all undergraduate students in all public universities and colleges; the national youth Act; The Liberia Technical Vocational Education and Training Commission Act and the Revised Liberian Bank for Development and Investment Act.
Others are the Act to Ratify the Investment Incentive Agreement between Liberia and Fouta Corporation, Act Ratifying the Agreement for the Establishment of the Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK) and an Act to Amend the Revenue Code of Liberia to reform Excise Tax Law (2018).
President Weah also announced a proposed amendment to extend the time required to renew Resident Permits.
“In Liberia we have business and other people who have lived here for 30 to 50 years but have to renew resident permit every year,” he disclosed; “this will have to change.”
The President said those who resided in the country for five years or more, without a criminal record, will be eligible under the proposed amendment.
“The amendment proposed, will also allow permit holders to no longer be required to obtain permits to re-enter the country,” he announced. “We will also look into revising the requirement for annual renewal of work permits for a longer period.”
The Liberian leader furthered that the administration would implement a Visa-upon-Arrival program, as well as the issuance of Tourist Visas.
These bills will serve as addendums to bills President Weah forwarded and passed into law by the National Legislature in the first year of his presidency.
They include an Act to Ratify the Financing Agreement to provide additional financing for the West African Power Pool, the Local Government Act of 2018 and an Act to Establish the Land Rights Law of 2018.
President Weah said these legislations would help smoothen and enhance efforts toward accomplishing the PAPD launched October 29, 2018 with the aim to give power to the people, better the economy, create jobs, sustain the peace and improve governance and transparency.
“The overall objective of the PAPD and its ultimate goal is to lift our people from poverty to prosperity,” the President announced.
The President however extolled the national legislature for the critical support and cooperation rendered in passing into law several pieces of legislation totaling 26 he said are relevant to the PAPD.
At the same time, President Weah has disclosed his administration would place emphasis on the Agriculture sector as major impetus for economic revitalization.
“As we kick-start the infrastructure portion of the PADP through road construction, we also want to place a new emphasis on agriculture,” he said.
President Weah bemoaned the minute returns realized from the enormous investments put into Agriculture, stressing, “This will have to change.”
“Our international partners will agree with me that endless national and foreign resources have been and continue to be poured into Agriculture yet returns on these investments are almost negligible.”
The Liberian leader vowed to allot the same effort, time and energy to road projects, to programs toward agriculture development.
He said, “I will directly get involved in the programs and practical implementation of agriculture development.”
President Weah who says the Agriculture sector accounts for more than seventy percent (70%) of household earnings, indicated that the PAPD can only be sustainably achieved through agriculture.
“We will craft new practical and realistic agriculture policies, incentivize the sector by providing access to credit, reducing tariffs on agriculture implements, and provide small machines, modern seeds and fertilizers,” he proclaimed.
He reiterated that Liberia is open for business, and that the private sector will be prioritized under his administration.