Central bank Governor Back Chairman Bryant Action to Reduce Prices
By: I. Solo Kelgbeh
Posted November 4, 2003
Measures announced last Friday by the head of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant, aimed at improving the lots of Liberians, have been described as hallmark for good economic policies and governance.
The Central Bank of Liberia's Executive Governor, Elias Saleeby said the measures as heralded by Chairman Bryant are to foster sound macro-economic management which will involve revenue collection, government accounts, transparency and monopolies.
Serving as guest during the regular Press Union of Liberia (PUL) monthly intellectual forum, "Edward Wilmot Blyden Forum", the CBL Governor said what was announced by the chairman was not an overall economic policy but sound decisions.
"I am not surprised that an overall economic policy has not been put forward, because as a general rule, this would only be realistic if the government had a handle on the revenue base and other resources from our development partners. This is not the case, Governor Saleeby maintained.
The CBL's boss without mincing words said that there are difficult years ahead. He named the limited mandate of the government, the destruction and/or disrepair of most of the public physical assets, the decimated revenue base, the uncertain security environment, the brain-drain and overwhelming level of unemployment as the deterrent factors to investment.
He said the fact that this government cannot make major economic or political commitments means that cardinal decisions will have to be deferred to at least two years.
The CBL governor pointed out that Liberia has plummeted behind for last 25 years, and as such, any meaningful economic reconstruction will require an exceedingly high-level of commitment to a sound macro-economic management, built upon fiscal prudence, transparency and public accountability.
"Liberia's legacy of a strong private sector and Liberia monetary regime, must remain the foundation upon which the economy is built, with he private sector being the 'engine' for economic reconstruction and growth", the governor maintained. Gov. Saleeby said this will require that a conducive business climate, mainly market-driven be created in order to attract foreign direct investment and stimulate local capital formation, which in turn, will create job opportunities and expand the revenue base. The governor warned that the government should not be the major employer but instead it must create the climate for private sector to develop and thrive.
Given the limited duration couple with the immense task of the government the governor observed, the design and implementation of economic framework will have be intensive.
He said the support of Liberia's development partners will be indispensable to any reconstruction efforts. "While Liberia will no doubt enjoy considerable goodwill from the international community, but the intense competition among third world countries for an ever-reducing pool of donor/aid funds will dictate that the government establishes clear priorities for the use of its very limited resources", the CBL Governor hinted.
Amidst all odds, the CBL's boss said it is important for emphasis to be upon rebuilding the human-resource base as well as the institutional base during these two years of the government. Concluding, the governor said Liberians should expect some difficult years as the nation strive to rebuild the social and economic infrastructure o this country.
He said this require "shared" values by all Liberians, which will in turn will give a general sense of purpose, focus and duty.
Continuing, Gov. Saleeby said the task of rebuilding Liberia is not just the government's responsibility but, instead each and every Liberian.
He called on Liberians and residents alike to have hope which is a crucial element in man's fate.