Chinese Gov’t Donates Drugs, Equipment to Fight Ebola

first_imgIn support of the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in the Mano River Union basin, the Government of the People’s Republic of China Monday, August 11, donated US$1.7 million worth of assorted anti-Ebola materials to help support the efforts of the Government and people of Liberia.Speaking Monday at the handing over ceremony held at the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County, the Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Yue Zhang, said Liberia and China are one community and the government of China will continue to be a partner to Liberia.“The government of China is donating drugs, personal protective equipment, thermometer guns and sanitizers among others, to help support the Government of Liberia efforts in combating the deadly Ebola virus from Liberia.”According to the Ambassador, the Chinese government is providing US$5 million worth of assorted materials to the Mano River Union MRU nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, to help contain the epidemic.He further disclosed that, in addition to supporting the fight against the deadly Ebola virus, the Government of China is sending three health experts to help provide the basic expertise and the training of local health workers on the uses of the donated assorted materials.“They are coming to help the health workers in Liberia, because some of the products are made in China and so, they need to advise the health practitioners on how to use those things as well as other necessary support that will kick the epidemic from Liberia,” Mr. Zhang said. The Chinese Ambassador said, the drugs provided to the Government of Liberia to combat the deadly Ebola virus will help to suppress the epidemic and those affected by the virus. “The equipment donated to Liberia is valued US$1.7 million in addition to donation we provided to the fight against the deadly Ebola virus,” the Ambassador disclosed. “The Government of China also provided a special cargo jet to deliver these assorted materials to the three countries and on time.”Asked whether the Chinese government had plans to evacuate its citizens from Liberia due to the epidemic, Amb. Zhang said his government is not advising its citizens to leave Liberia, rather he urged them to follow the advice given by Liberian health authorities, including hand-washing, avoidance of bodily contact and reporting of suspected cases, among others, for the safety of those in Liberia.According to the ambassador, China and Liberia, as well as the rest of Africa are one common community with the mind of holding each other, especially during such an emergency, adding that in 2010, the African countries were equally there for China.Receiving the assorted materials among others on behalf of the Government of Liberia, acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sylvester Grigsby, expressed thanks and appreciation to the Government of the People’s Republic of China, describing it as timely in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.Mr. Grigsby said the assorted materials donated will help the government contain the epidemic in Liberia and ensure that more lives can be saved in the process.“This will enhance the government’s efforts in supporting the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia. We are very happy as it will help us reach the various counties and fight the virus.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Prez. Sirleaf Endorses NOCAL Board’s Approved SAP

first_imgTo ensure organizational efficiency and effectiveness, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has endorsed the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) Board’s approved Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) aimed at ensuring the viability of the entity so that it continues to pursue its mission to develop Liberia’s hydrocarbon resources.She said the board’s action plan calls for drastic steps to control costs and put NOCAL on a more viable financial footing, adding that these would include significant staff cuts, a reconstitution of the board and retirement and replacement of the senior executive leadership.Madam Sirleaf made this announcement during a press conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held in Monrovia Tuesday.“I have mandated these steps because they are necessary to ensure that NOCAL can perform its duty to manage and develop Liberia’s oil resources, and to rectify recent mistakes in its performance,” she said.She recalled that the caliber of companies that were attracted to Liberia’s acreage to pursue exploration activities was also high, with major exploration deals struck between NOCAL and the world’s top oil companies, Chevron and Exxon Mobil, as well as the largest signature bonus of US$50 million ever for a “Frontier” country such as Liberia.President Sirleaf underscored that the execution of the production sharing contracts (PSCs) with these super major and other reputable international oil companies also resulted in significant interest in Liberia’s hydrocarbon sector with record licensing of seismic data and related revenue. She also noted that during this period, average revenue generated was US$30.5 million, compared to average annual revenue of US$4.5 million in prior years.This, according to her, translated into US$10.6 million annual payments to the Government’s Consolidated Fund.The average annual revenue for the sale of seismic data/component for the period 2010–2013, was US$15.6 million; a 300 % increase when compared to annual seismic revenue generated for earlier periods, she indicated.Madam Sirleaf also said that it was regrettable, commencing in the fourth quarter of 2013, NOCAL’s revenue for seismic data sale began a precipitous decline, during which total seismic revenue fell by 29 percent from the prior fiscal year and was compounded by the Ebola virus disease of 2014 that led to a reduction in investor interest across all economic sectors for the impacted West African region.“There is no doubt that the current oil price collapse and other external factors, including our recent Ebola challenge contributed to the current financial crisis that the company is facing,” She noted.She further intimated that despite the obvious decline in revenue that began in late 2013, NOCAL continued hiring staff at an alarming rate with exorbitant benefits resulting in the current wage bill of over US$7 million per annum.”She however emphasized that the alarming situation at NOCAL prompted her action to instruct NOCAL’s Board of Directors to take immediate action to ensure that the institution is restructured as well as to ensure most prudent handling of the country’s financial resources taking into account the Board’s Sustainability Action Plan.Meanwhile, President Sirleaf said the administrative actions became prudently compelling and a few members of the board will continue until an interim board is reconstituted.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Brumskine’s U-turn in Liberian Politics

first_imgCounselor Charles Walker Brumskine became politically prominent when he contested the first post-war elections in 2005 but lost to Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.Posing himself at the time as a “Man of God” to get Christians and their sympathizers on his side, Cllr. Brumskine, however, dropped by the wayside not even in the second, but the third place. Still hoping to ascend to the country’s highest seat, the Liberian lawyer and politician decided to contest the 2011 elections despite the overwhelming weight of President Sirleaf, George Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and Prince Y. Johnson of the party in disarray – National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP) dominated by Gio and Mano people.Interestingly that year (2011), Cllr. Brumskine had an interview with the Daily Observer in which he promised, “If Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wins this election, I will surely resign from politics.” With God on his side, Cllr. Brumskine fell from third place in 2005 to fourth in 2011, and he publicly resigned in accordance with his promise after that election in which Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won.Describing himself earlier as a “Man of God,” many Liberians held him to his word, believing that he would uphold the Judeo-Christian ethics of honesty and consistency. To my dismay and that of many others, the “Man of God,” lawyer and politician has overturned his decision again and is gearing up for 2017.When I heard about his ambition for the presidency a few months ago, I thought that Liberty Party was not capable of putting forward any political leader besides Cllr. Brumskine. When I inquired from some partisans, they told me, “A wise man changes and Brumskine’s word is not the Bible.”If this is the philosophy that the “Man of God” and his partisans are holding on to, then, what belief can we have in them? To look at the issue, the Bible that Cllr. Brumskine and most of his political followers believe says in the book of James 1:8, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”Liberians, like people of feeble nations, are tired of hearing political rhetoric but are seeking for a leader who will inspire a spirit of patriotism in them. The Liberian lawyer, “Man of God” and politician, knowing that he had been in the game and would still surface in the field where the incumbent’s manipulation would be less, should have withheld his emotion and refrained from making such a public statement that he would withdraw from politics.Proverbs 13:3 says, “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life, but he that openeth his lips shall have destruction.” Liberians have known their politicians to be deceptive people with sweet words, but at the end when they obtain power, they become the bitterest fountain. They grab the country’s resources for their families, and leave the people deprived of their needs.With such inconsistency, there is no doubt that Cllr. Brumskine would be the same as other politicians, who promise constituents and the entire country, but fail to deliver the goods and become a thorn in their flesh.To remind the “Man of God” and politician about another danger, let us see other verses in the Bible. Proverbs 12:22 says “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.”Furthermore, Proverbs 13:5 says, “A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.” I know the conjunction ending this verse makes no impact on the “Man of God” having diverted from consistency to inconsistency; however, he should be aware that by his confession and decision, Liberians hold him now as a deceptive politician.In addition to his inconsistency, you will also recall that in 2011 during the day of the launch of voter’s registration in Liberia, Cllr. Brumskine went to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County to register.There he told the people of the county, “Bassa people, if you want development, elect a Bassa man and vote the Liberty Party. This is the only way you will get development in this county.”I do not know how fluent Cllr. Brumskine is in the Bassa language or how accustomed he is to its culture, but from time to time, he has been tribally sentimental and divisive in his politics.He was again recently heard urging the Bassa and a portion of the Kpelle people in Margibi to join Grand Bassa to produce the next President of Liberia. How sure can the Bassa people be that Cllr. Brumskine would deliver to them, considering his first confession to Christians of being a man of God and by making a u-turn?His statement simply indicates that getting power through the Liberian people’s votes would only yield into tribal divide and the long existing sectionalism that has torn this country apart.Cllr. Brumskine should know by now that Liberians are gradually becoming mature in the political game, unlike the past when many of them were swayed by a few bags of rice and dollars.He should know that even those who have failed to deliver at the level of the Legislature will all be retired in 2017 and 2020. To publicly say something and then later change your mind demonstrates a sort of inconsistency that goes to prove, as you may have realized, the reason for your declining popularity among Liberians.Until you set your record straight, Cllr. Brumskine, Liberians still hold you by your word and decision, and you must respect consistency in your word to them.About the authorJoaquin Sendolo is a senior student studying Mass Communication at the University of Liberia. He earned his first Bachelor’s degree in Management and attended several workshops and seminars both in Liberia and abroad. He has also covered key international events including the 49th annual meetings of the African Development Bank in Kigali, Rwanda and the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. He participated in reporting tours both in the United States and China (PRC). He now serves as a diplomatic and business correspondent for the Daily Observer and can be reached at 0886838535/0777463853. Email: jmeahkeehsendolo@yahoo.co.uk. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

“Appropriate Actions, Forensic Audit of NOCAL”

first_imgThree major committees of the Senate have made several recommendations to plenary on the state of affairs at the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), among them, appropriate action against all employees, senior management and Board members who have betrayed the public trust.The recommendations were contained in a report dated August 17, and was submitted to plenary yesterday by the Committees on Lands, Mines, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment; Committee on Public Corporations, and the Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget.In their 12-page report, the committees, among other things, recommended that appropriate action be taken against all employees, senior management and Board members who have betrayed the public trust; but however, recommended that all those who have been severed receive their just benefits in accordance with the Law of Liberia.The report comes in the wake of mounting concerns that the company is facing financial difficulties, and that some of the major oil companies were pulling out of petroleum acreages.At the same time, the committees are recommending that the General Auditing Commission (GAC) conduct a forensic auditing of NOCAL for unaudited periods.Considering that Liberia is still a frontier area in terms of oil exploration, the committees recommended the development of an aggressive program, both to retain companies in the program and to attract others in the face of competition from other countries some of whom have found or are producing oil.In view of this, the committees are suggesting that the current management structure of NOCAL be reviewed, eliminating the many vice presidents and other senior management position. They further recommend that the total employment level of NOCAL be reduced significantly to the bare bone minimum, and that priority for retained employees should be given to technical fields such as geology and engineering, since they are the most needed at this stage of the oil program.The committees outlined several cardinal factors they believe are responsible for NOCAL’s current predicament, among them a huge payroll to accommodate an-over-bloated staff and a plethora of vice presidents and other senior management positions, coupled with an unrealistic corporate social responsibility program.Other areas reported on in the committees’ document showed that NOCAL was carrying on “an overly ambitious local and foreign scholarship program without due attention to priorities as a frontier country; very expensive, very frequent and often very unnecessary foreign travels, donations in millions of US Dollars to government agencies for extra-budgetary expenditure, and general spending spree as if Liberia were an oil-producing country.”The report revealed that the companies which pulled out of their petroleum acreages generally completed their work programs without finding oil, and said the drop in the price of oil also served as a disincentive for the companies to remain in Liberia due to competing demands on their global operational and exploration budgets. “An aggressive and innovative strategy is required to keep the Liberian oil program active,” the committees concluded.In the debate that followed after the presentation, several Senators agreed that NOCAL be audited, especially from the stage when oil blocks were awarded to companies.However, a greater number of Senators refused to buy the recommendations that severance payments be made to individuals considered for such, and that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning assists NOCAL financially when such demand is made.Others argued that some of those receiving severance benefits were the same ones who led the company to its downfall, and that it would make no sense paying for their administrative ineptitude.Several recommendations were then made and plenary voted to send the report back to the committees for a final report, and that the report be submitted to the leadership of the senate for onward submission to the Executive for action. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Stay Order on House Session, Budget Hearings

first_imgOn Tuesday afternoon (June 21), the Supreme Court put a ‘stay order’ on the legislative sessions and other activities of the House of Representatives, including the budget hearings on the revenue component of the fiscal year 2016/2017 Draft National Budget.The Supreme Court in its March term mandated the House of Representatives to return to the ‘status quo ante’; that is, before the motion of June 2, suspending roll calls and allowing the number and members present at the June 2 session of the House ofRepresentatives to constitute a quorum for one month, June 2 to July 2.Tuesday’s session was adjourned after a prayer was recited by the Chairman on the House’s Executive Committee, Grand Kru Representative George Wesseh Blamoh, who served as the presiding officer.“We received two communications (writs) from the Supreme Court and the Speaker has gone there to get clarity so today there’s no session,” presiding officer Blamoh said and adjourned the session.This is the second time, in two weeks, for the Supreme Court to put a stay order on the House of Representatives through the Writ of Prohibition from Rep. Edwin M. Snowe, Jr.On Friday, June 10, a stay order was granted by the Supreme Court; and on Monday, June 13, it was lifted and both parties, the petitioner, Rep. Snowe and the respondent, Speaker J. Alex Tyler, mandated to make amendment, but the petitioner was instructed to seek redress if dissatisfied with the resolution.Snowe snubs hearingOn Monday, Rep. Snowe failed to turnout for a public hearing on a complaint filed to the House’s plenary regarding his protest on the usage of a quorum on roll call taken on June 2, for one month.Snowe’s absence was described as ‘ignoring the roll call hearing’ after having acknowledged receipt of the communication, as well as having been informed through a mobile phone call.A close confidant of Rep. Snowe, who begged for anonymity, said the Montserrado County lawmaker boycotted the ‘sham hearing’ because it was orchestrated by pro-Tyler lawmakers, including the Chairman on the Committees on Judiciary and Rules, Order and Administration.The staff further said the venue of the hearing, the Speaker’s conference room, also undermined its integrity.Bomi County lawmaker Cllr. S. Gayah Karmoh said the hearing was in keeping with the House’s Rules and Procedures, and that the petitioner, having failed to appear, will be given a second chance.The Judiciary Committee Chairman and the Chairman on Rules, Order and Administration, J. Byron Browne, will officially write Rep. Snowe on the date of the next hearing, but would not state what would happen if he again fails to appear.House Speaker Tyler was at the hearing; and a staffer said he was set to explain that his decision was based on precedent.The staffer, who also requested anonymity, said during the 52nd Legislature, under the speakership of Rep. Snowe, a similar decision was taken.June 9 Supreme Court orderThe Supreme Court notified Speaker Tyler of the cause of action to appear before the full bench in disposition of the constitutional issue raised in the petition to show cause why the petitioner’s petition as prayed should not be granted.Snowe’s legal battle was due to a motion from Bong County District # 3 Representative George S. Mulbah, which indicated that Thursday’s quorum should and must persist for the entire month of June, meaning there would be no roll call.Rep. Snowe and about 18 lawmakers are agitating that there should be a recall, in accordance with Article 33 of the Constitution.Article 33 of the Liberian Constitution states, “A simple majority of each House shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but a lower number may adjourn from day to day and compel the attendants of absent members…”Tyler embattled, or formidable?The same aggrieved lawmakers are asking the Speaker to recuse himself, for allegedly receiving US$75,000 in the controversial Global Witness report that alleged bribery and secret payouts to the Speaker and other government officials. Global Witness argued that the alleged bribes were paid to alter the Liberian concessions law in favor of Sable Mining Company for the acquisition of an iron ore concession for the Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County.Reports from Tyler’s office say the Speaker is still formidable and in control of a majority of the lawmakers (about 52 lawmakers).Amidst the criminal indictment due to Global Witness report, Pro-Tyler lawmakers have twice blocked the campaign to force the Speaker to recuse himself.However, it has been said that Tyler is considering building his bloc from 52 to 60 members.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

UNDP Out-going Boss Underscores Importance of Decentralization

first_imgThe outgoing Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Antonio Vigilante, has underscored the importance of government’s decentralization policy.Mr. Vigilante urged the Ministry of Internal Affairs to continue efforts aimed at capturing citizens’ attention by giving them access to services.He made the comments recently at a dinner held in his honor as he ends his tour of duty in Liberia.During the event held by UNDP management and staff, Mr. Vigilante expressed gratitude to the Liberian Government and its partners for their contributions toward the nation’s development drive.He thanked all Liberians for their contributions during his three-year tenure including the country’s critical period of the Ebola virus disease (EVD).“I have done my part. I want to thank everyone because without the collaboration of Liberians, we couldn’t have been here. It’s my hope that Liberia will continue to grow in peace and strength with several development programs on her shoulders,” he said.The outgoing UN diplomat expressed the hope that the government will remain on the path of growth and development.‘With resilience, the country will be better; and we need to achieve women’s empowerment, government reform transformation, and job creation among other issues,” he said to the delight of the guests.The program was attended by an array of government officials, UN partners, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, staff of UNDP, friends and many well-wishers.In separate remarks, guests spoke highly of Mr. Vigilante’s contributions especially to the fight against the 2014 deadly Ebola virus crisis.UNDP Country Director Kamil Kamaluddeen described him as “a person who is development-oriented.”While in the country, Mr. Vigilante helped set up of the Community Based Initiative, which provided the stage for community participation in the fight against the EVD, as well as the country’s decentralization process aimed at providing municipal services in the 15 counties.Mr. Vigilante was appointed by the UN Secretary General in 2014 as UNDP Resident Representative. He also served in other capacities as DSRSG for the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for Recovery and Governance, as well as UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.Mr. Vigilante has already left the country. He has worked in several countries for the United Nations for over 35 years and is now retiring.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Disappearing Coastline: Time to Save Liberia’s Shoreline

first_imgMore than ever before in the history of Liberia, inhabited coastal communities are being and are on the verge of being submerged beneath the vast Atlantic Ocean. From Cape Mount to Cape Palmas, coastal erosion continues to wipe out the shorelines. Experts have argued that consistent and persistent occurrence of coastal erosion along Liberia’s coastline could either result from unregulated sand mining or global climate change leading to rising sea levels compounded with abrasive currents, high energy wave patterns and storm surges, all combined to create serious levels of coastal erosion.While experts argued distinguishing fact from fiction, hundreds of people are becoming displaced on a regular basis, most of whom are already poverty-stricken. Strong storms in most parts of the country are destroying thousands of homes occupied by people who continue to taste the bitter pill of poverty and human suffering. It is not only the people that are affected, but their homes and other basic infrastructural facilities that provide the much needed social services that are getting swallowed, leaving thousands homeless without food, water, clothing – let alone access to affordable healthcare and education. Case in point: the famous D. Tweh High School, the only public high school in one of Liberia’s largest shantytowns, is on the verge of being swept away.Contemplate on the picturesque Atlantic Street in the Port City of Buchanan that is being washed away, and efforts are underway to somewhat cease the debris from falling, for a very short span of time, with huge rocks stockpiled for coastal defense. Consider the populous West Point community in the heart of our nation’s capital that is being squeezed with countless number of homes, submerged underwater or at the point of being wiped out in the not too distant future. Every now and then, coastal erosion is taking away the homes and hard-earned meager resources of our compatriots, while we sit and shift blames or badmouth authorities, or give illusive hopes or share pseudo relief items to gain political favor. However, the growing wave of coastal erosion in recent times call for decisive, appropriate and long-term action from broader and bigger perspectives involving holistic and realistic approaches that take into consideration practical solutions from experts, investment in long-standing research and grassroots actions on the part of every citizen. Notwithstanding, these are not just the solutions to the worsening coastal erosion problem along Liberia’s shorelines, but the changes in the attitude, behavior and mindset of the people who are directly affected by this devastating phenomenon. Most importantly, there must be the will of the people, institutions, international and political bodies to find amicable remedies to the worrisome, encroaching sea.Every so often, scores of coastal dwellers choose to engage in illegal beach sand mining under the canopy of earning their daily meal. There is always a demand for beach sand as people engage in the construction of their homes and businesses, without consideration environmental issues and the merciless coastal erosion. The huge demand for beach sand, even with the prohibition, leads people to go the extra mile to collect sand. Due to the limited space for building houses in most clustered coastal communities, some inhabitants choose to build their homes within the proximity of the ocean or near the very place coastal sand mining is being carried out. The exponential increase of coastal sand mining and construction of misshaped structures severely damages all or nearly all the native vegetations that usually serve as natural barriers to the destructive and seemingly unstoppable coastal erosion. Sadly, most coastal dwellers are either too busy worrying over food, shelter, clothing, healthcare and school fees, or have little or no knowledge about the effects of their accumulated activities on the coastal erosion problem they are encountering. Coastal residents need to accept the fact that their very actions and activities along the shoreline are causing the increased coastal erosion. They ought to dust themselves off, wakeup, shakeup and standup to begin the work of minimizing or stopping the disastrous coastal erosion with their own creativity, responsibility and ingenuity. Coastal dwellers can put an end to sand mining at this very moment, because every problem can be solved through the willingness of the people. This is a truism, that most shorelines lacking human habitation do not experience coastal erosion as compared to inhabited areas, since they are firmly secured with natural barriers. Therefore, coastal inhabitants must begin to plant native vegetations, create buffer zone and cease the cutting of mangrove swamps. They should and must call their government to begin taking practical steps in addressing coastal erosion as well as solicit the help of international partners and other stakeholders. They should and must tell powerful and rich nations to stop the massive pollution to stop the earth from getting warmer, leading to rising sea levels. They should and must uphold and adhere to the laws and other international regulations set forth in order to protect and preserve the environment for themselves and generations yet unborn. All of this is possible if people decide to work together with one common purpose for the good of all.Besides, regulatory institutions charged with the responsibility to safeguard Liberia’s coastline ought to galvanize all of the necessary resources and logistics in order to effectively and efficiently monitor and effectuate the rules and regulations governing beach sand mining and construction of housing units along the shoreline. These regulatory bodies should create massive publicity and outreach initiatives including organizing community based town hall styled meetings coupled with focused group discussions to explain laws as well as penalties associated with their violations. Projects implemented through these statutory institutions established under the law of Liberia should involve local coastal inhabitants in order to provide jobs and avert beach sand mining. Additionally, there should be a regulatory framework that takes into consideration early warning, evacuation plan and disaster management support for coastal residents. It is also advisable for regulatory bodies to institute working groups on coastal erosion so as to better coordinate and avoid unnecessary government bureaucracy. On the other hand, the international community must play a pivotal role in protecting coastal areas against erosion and climate change. Rich and powerful nations should muster the courage to implement the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Some countries with relatively plenty resources have got to limit investment in fossil fuel, coal and nuclear power as cheaper sources of energy and divert to clean and renewable energy. No matter how much financial aid is being provided to combat the glaring and galloping effects of climate change, developed countries should not be blindfolded as the sea swallows coastal communities and erodes shorelines. The task is upon the world’s most influential nations to prevent the glaciers from melting at a faster pace than estimated, with stronger commitment, not just through lengthy speeches and countless conferences, but rather practical actions to reduce carbon emissions and sharing the much needed technological know-how to minimize the threat of coastal erosion dislodging people and possibly adding to the refugee crises the world is currently experiencing. The world’s major emitters of emission must rethink the future of thousands of communities on the verge of being submerged underwater and millions of people that are going to be displaced without hope for a better future. We the people of this world cannot continue to ruin our planet in pursue of economic power. We are all living under “one sky,” and what sets us apart are vast oceans and imaginary border lines; and all too often, what distinguishes us is the color of our skin. Nevertheless, no matter where one lives or religion confessed or language spoken or perceived social status; know that climate change will affect us all, and it is just a matter of time. Hence, we the people of this world, rich or poor, powerful or powerless, environmental activist or social advocate; ought to do everything in our power in our lifetime to save our planet and put an end to coastal erosion.All the more so, political will is very paramount in ensuring our leaders take appropriate actions to safeguard eroding shorelines and massive coastal erosion led displacement of people. It is time to make our leaders walk the talk and uphold their promise to combat climate change and stop coastal erosion. In Liberia, our government has signed up to many international treaties, protocols and agreements as well as approved numerous legislations, regulations, policies and laws to guide against climate change; howbeit, most of these brilliant documents are yet to be turned into practical actions. The Liberian government must begin the work of ensuring the popularization and implementation of all climate change related documents through consulted and coordinated efforts involving every state actor. The time for the blame shifting game is over. Our government must keep its promises to avoid speedily contrived solutions, but instead work towards long-lasting initiatives that will make our coastline safer, healthier and cleaner. Our government must no longer wait until hundreds of homes in West Points vanish or D. Twe disappears or Atlantic Street debris fall beneath the ocean floor or another disastrous coastal erosion to occur before taking actions and calling for help. Our government must incorporate the science of climate change in the national curriculum so as to engage and educate the present generation of young Liberians to learn about the effects of the climate crisis and develop possible solutions to solve one of the greatest crises in human history. When young people are involved in putting an end to eroding shorelines and the fight against climate change with their energy, enthusiasm and innovation, there are endless possibilities. Already many voluntary grassroots organizations like Youth Exploring Solutions are leading the quest for a greener future to save our earth. Through our sweat, blood and tears, more dedicated, determined and committed environmental enthusiasts have joined the implementation of a very ambitious plan to build a sustainable Liberia and create an ecosystem of innovation in the areas of Energy, Water, Food, Waste and Ecology, utilizing a youth-led sustainability movement. Furthermore, we are informing, involving and inspiring young people to take practical grassroots actions to safeguard our one earth, whether it is community town hall engagement for coastal dwellers or nurturing emerging environmentalists or anti-plastic bag campaigns or coastal cleanup initiatives or planting trees or environmental advocacy and outreach activities, we playing our part with tremendous support from the U.S. Embassy Monrovia to help make our planet greener, our water safer and our air cleaner. However, our incredible grassroots efforts are just a drop in the ocean, because no one organization or country on the face of this earth can put an end to the climate crisis.Now, it is the time to get everyone involved in solving the climate crisis. We need not retreat from a battle affecting us all, and will definitely have substantial impact on our children, grand children and generations unborn. We have got to tackle climate change head-on through collective efforts to make our planet habitable, our water drinkable, our air breathable, our food consumable, our energy clean and our environment livable. It is up to everyone to set their sights higher from their comfort zones and imaginary border lines and begin the work of solving the climate crisis through our own creativity and collective actions. It is on us to begin taking every action possible to fight for ourselves, our country and our one world with the artisanal that defeats the climate crisis in our lifetime. It is on us to rethink the way we utilize energy that is threatening our very existence. Together, we can tackle the climate crisis and save our earth for ourselves and the next generation and put an end to the eroding Liberian shoreline. About the author: Mr. Stephen B. Lavalah is an advocate and the Founder & Executive Director of Youth Exploring Solutions (YES), a non-profit and voluntary grassroots youth-led development organization. For more information about YES’ work in Liberia, please visit http://www.liberiayes.org. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not represent YES.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Change Has Come: What to Hope for?

first_img“Change for Hope” was President George Weah’s slogan and rallying cry throughout his presidential campaign. Whatever way he and members of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) interpret it, anyone coming across the slogan during the campaign will understand it as an imperative phrase telling the people to change the existing leadership for hope for a better future.This hope, as the slogan portrays, evokes the enthusiasm that it is the CDC that can provide it, and therefore voters had no choice but to prioritize electing George Weah and the CDC into national leadership.In compliance with the dictate of the slogan, candidate Weah received overwhelming votes in both the first and second rounds of the 2017 election, thereby leading him to the highest seat of the land.The change has now come and it is time to hope, but what do we hope for?This question brings to mind many answers: free education, reduction in prices of basic locally produced and imported commodities, low transport fares, drastically lower the foreign exchange rate, and the list goes on.All these and many others cannot be done miraculously in a day; they rather take time and hard work to accomplish.Nevertheless, there are few urgent priorities to consider that are expected to impact mainly the youth of Liberia. The first and foremost is to institute a strong, enforceable law against the importation and sale of narcotic substances that are overwhelming the country. As though to underscore the very serious challenges facing this new Weah Administration, just before the inauguration, some aliens were caught at the Roberts International Airport with different kinds of narcotic substances.These illegal substances are brought into the country and the vulnerable youth, popularly referred to as “ZOGOS,” have become addicted and prone to various psychological and medical illnesses. As evidence shows, those young men and women taking in these drugs are all over the city in filthy appearances, committing theft of phones and purses and other items, from innocent people. These are people who have pledged their loyalty to you, Mr. President, for hope after change has been made. In a country where there is hardly any efficient and effective mental home or psychiatric institution, creating a law to restrict the importation and consumption of narcotic substances is one way of bringing hope to our youth.Another thing to consider, Mr. President, is refining the education sector, which will ensure that our young  people are going to acquire knowledge. As your predecessor noted several years ago, Liberia’s “education system is a mess,” and since this pronouncement in March of 2012, there has been no effective reform in the sector up to the time the Sirleaf Administration came to an end last Monday, when you took the oath of office as Liberia’s President. Most Liberian students are functionally illiterate because there are no libraries or even available books they can read. One of President Sirleaf’s Education Ministers, George Werner, who happens to retain his job under the Weah Administration, is on record for stating publicly in local Kru language that “Education is nonsense.” This clearly shows how this cardinal sector that is the bedrock of any society has remained in ruins for the past 12 years without much attention.The concern for revamping the education sector for the youth should not only be a matter of bringing books, building new schools and training more teachers; the government must also institute measures to fight academic malpractices, including sex and money for grades.We feel compelled also to mention at this point the nation’s premier university, the University of Liberia. It has over time been marred by violent protests that some have no substantial reasons for carrying out. As a result of the violent protests all too frequently at the UL campus, academic activities are often delayed, to the detriment of many students who wish to study within the four-year scope set by this university.In his Inaugural Address yesterday, President Weah said that he is prepared to fight corruption to the end; warning that any official caught stealing public funds will be fully prosecuted in accordance with the law.Good!Many people expected to hear what President Weah had to say in his Inaugural Address on the economy, culture, transportation, infrastructure and even a robust program to revive national sports and other critical issues. But this issue of corruption was the only one he emphasized. It is a cardinal issue that affects all sectors and it must be addressed to give Liberians hope – that this Administration has truly come with genuine “hope for change” – positive and real change, devoid of the cancerous evil of corruption that has caused Liberia to remain for generations a failed state.However, the Daily Observer is also convinced that addressing the two issues raised in this Editorial — fighting the proliferation of drugs that are destroying our young people’s future, and education — are matters which, if effectively and seriously addressed by this new administration, will bring real hope to Liberian youth, setting them on a deliberate and sustained path to a better future.When President Weah was speaking to a group of “ZOGOS” on the day Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor celebrated her birthday, January 18, he made a very serious point: “If there would be change as we all expect,” he told them,  “you [yourselves] should also be willing to change.”This is a challenge to the “ZOGOS,” but how do they change when what is leading them into their unpleasant, even destructive situation remains unaddressed? This is why we are also suggesting that if there would be change and hope for a better future for our youth, government must take actions to address the two issues that may impede, even frustrate the change we all, but most especially our youth, hope and yearn for.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Senate Berates Economic Management Team for “Poor Report” on Economy

first_imgThe EMT comprises, among others (from left) Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Jr.; Commerce Minister Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh and Central Bank Governor Nathaniel Patray.Over a dozen Senators on Tuesday, November 7, made public their strong disagreement over a three-page report from the Economic Management Team (EMT) on the state of the economy; the alleged missing L$16 billion and the status of the infusion of the supposed US$25 million into the economy to strengthen the depreciated Liberian dollar.The angry lawmakers, including Senators Thomas Grupee, Matthew Jaye, Varney Sherman, Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence, Henrique Tokpa, J. Gbleh-bo Brown and Dan Morais, said the report lacked detailed explanations on the specifics on the economy, but instead it is filled with financial graphs which they cannot understand to interpret to their constituents who elected them.In a soft-but-firm tone, Nimba County Senator Thomas Grupee rebuked the Chairman of the EMT, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah for speaking from his head and not from a prepared text, taking into consideration the severity of the matter.Senators Brown, Jaye and Lawrence, said the “graphs are laughable, because the EMT did not take into account their professional backgrounds.”Tough-talking Senator from Grand Cape Mount County, Varney Sherman, said the current state of the economy is too alarming for the Economic Management Team to be toying with.“I have been here for the past four years and I don’t remember us having public hearing and anything good come out of it. Why? Because the people who come to talk to us give us generalities and no decision can be made by us. The status of this economy is very serious. We call our experts here – people who’re supposed to advise us – and they come and talk to us from the top of their heads… How can you expect me to understand the status of the economy on three pages,” Cllr. Sherman said.Bong County Senator Henrique Tokpa said based upon his professional background he understands the graphs but  his other colleagues who are from different backgrounds need a simple explanation on the monetary and fiscal policy and the impact of the US$25 million infusion in the economy.The lone female Senator in session, Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, described the three-page report as unprofessional, far below standard and does not fall within the best financial practice.She asked that Senators Morris Saytumah and Jonathan Kaipay, whose arguments were in defense, be allowed to give a general perspective on the economy and through questions-and-answers, the Senators’ specific questions will be addressed.However, Min. Tweah apologized for not making reference to the summary compiled by the team but said copies had been made available for members of the Senate.The Economic Management Team comprises of the Central Bank Governor, Nathaniel Patray, Finance, and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah, Commerce Minister, Wilson Tarpeh and Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Thomas Doe Nah.For a way forward, after berating the EMT, River Cess County Dallas Gweh proffered a motion for the EMT to be discharged in order to bring a detailed report on the economy, including the alleged missing L$16 billion, the state of the economy, the infusion of the US$25 million and the impact as well as which institutions benefited or how it was infused.The motion, which was amended by Senators Morris Saytumah and Peter Coleman, also said about 33 copies of the report should be submitted to the Secretary of the Senate, latest on Friday, November 9 and then return on Tuesday, November 13 in the Senate Chamber, by 11 am.The issue of EMT remaining under oath was disregarded by Senate President Pro Tempore Albert Chie.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

World Bank Executive Director for Liberia Here to Visit Projects, Discuss Growth Opportunities

first_img– Advertisement – The World Bank Group Executive Director (ED) for Liberia, Andrew N. Bvumbe, has arrived in the country for a five-day official mission to visit several project sites as well as discuss opportunities to promote growth, value addition and economic diversification.Executive Director Bvumbe, who arrived on Saturday, June 30, is accompanied by one of his advisors, Mr. Lamin Bojang, a Gambian, national.While in Liberia, Mr. Bvumbe, a national of Zimbabwe, will meet and hold discussions with President George M. Weah; Finance minister Samuel Tweah and other senior officials of Government.He will also meet and hold discussions with the World Bank Group family in the country.Mr. Bvumbe also serves as Executive Director for the following countries: Botswana, Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.The Executive Directors of the World Bank Group are responsible for the conduct of the general operations of the Bank and exercise all the powers delegated to them by the Board of Governors under the Articles of Agreement.The Executive Directors of the Bank serve as Directors of International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Executive Directors of International Development Association (IDA), as long as the country that appoints them, or any one of the countries that have elected them, is a member of IFC and IDA.All members of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) Board of Directors are elected.The Executive Directors fulfill their duties through various types of engagements that will Provide overall guidance to management on strategic directions and on corporate, regional, country-level and thematic issues.Others include exercise oversight over operational, financial, and institutional matters, selection and accountability of senior management, and risk management functions and approve the use of financial resources by all World Bank Group (WBG) entities, including operational and capital budgets, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and IDA loans, credits, guarantees, and grants, IFC investments, and MIGA guarantees, and decide on policies presented by management that impact the organization’s general operations and use of resources.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Mr. Andrew N. Bvumbe, World Bank Executive Director for Liberialast_img read more