Thursday, December 2, 2010

U.S Brings Down Final U.S.$30 Million Debt Burden

Source: Allafrica

A blissful Finance Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan could only say a big thank you and commit Liberia to rigorous financial management after US Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield yesterday announced that her country has totally forgiven its remaining debt against Liberia.

"Today, the United States cancels nearly $30 million in remaining debt owed to various U.S. government agencies," Ambassador Greenfield stated during a signing ceremony at the Ministry of Finance in Monrovia.

Besides yesterday's announcement, the U.S. had already canceled US$390 million in bilateral claims, and provided US$211 million to clear Liberia's arrears to the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank.

The American diplomat attributed the cancellation of the debt against Liberia to what she called "increasing international confidence in Liberia's management of its public finances."

In April 2009, commercial creditors forgave US$1.2 billion in Liberian debt, and then in June of this year, Liberia attained its greatest fiscal achievement when it reached Completion Point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.

At this point, the international community forgave Liberia of US$4.6 billion debt.

"Today's debt cancellations, Ambassador Greenfield said, "represents the United States' confidence in all that Liberia has accomplished to reform its public finances."

But more importantly, she indicated, it highlights the US Government's in all that it Liberian counterpart will continue to do. "Good governance and sound management of public resources is a never-ending process -- indeed, it is a journey that continues even in my country," she said.

Until recently, the people of Liberia were struggling under a mountain of debt they had inherited from past regimes, the Ambassador recalled.

This debt once amounted to $4.6 billion dollars, money that over decades should have provided solid roads, clean water and good schools, but were misused or directed to the benefit of corrupt officials and their supporters.

When Liberia could no longer pay these debts, international creditors cut off the flow of money, leaving Liberia stranded, without access to capital.

However, the US Envoy said, when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took office, she said "Never again", and her government put into place policies that has restored international trust and goodwill.
"Minister Ngafuan and officials of the Minister of Finance, I wish you the best of luck as you continue the critical work of creating the sound institutions, systems of checks and balances and public accountability that will ensure Liberia's resources continue to be used in the best interests of its citizens and that it provides a platform for the future," Ambassador Greenfield concluded her statement.

Minister Ngafuan in brief remarks hailed the US Government for the total forgiving of his country's outstanding debt and noted that the ugly past cannot be repeated.

He commended the American Government and peoples for their numerous contributions to the rebuilding process of Liberia and noted that resources would be used for the benefit of Liberia and its people.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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