Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweh has lauded the USAID for being a strategic partner, which he said continues to deliver impactful development projects under the administration of President George Weah.
Minister Tweah highlighted Liberia’s potential, during a courtesy visit by USAID Mission Director Jim Wright at the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday.
According to a press release from the Finance Ministry on Wednesday, Minister Tweah said the USAID has supported several projects in the areas of health, education, economic governance, digital economy and agriculture, including the country’s tourism at Providence Island.
The release also quoted the Finance Minister as saying that there are challenges, but also opportunities for the government to bend the curve for transformation.
Minister Tweah further outlined job creation for young people, agriculture, roads, and electricity as some key challenges the CDC government is being confronted with, but stressed that efforts are being made in addressing them.
The Finance Minister informed the USAID boss about achievements made through economic reforms, which include macroeconomic stability during the last three years.
He revealed that the government’s strong fiscal and monetary policies have led to inflation being down at 8.2%, adding that the government of Liberia was no longer borrowing from the Central Bank of Liberia, but instead living within its means.
The release further said the visit of the USAID Boss was more about acquaintance and strengthening the existing partnership between the USAID and the Government of Liberia.
Minister Tweah also explained about the successful business climate meeting, something he said resulted in its roadmap being developed, following policy changes as well as the law and procedure aspect.
The USAID, including AfDB, WB, he said, have been supportive to the creation of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
However, he pointed out that the government is prioritizing agriculture going forward, while also making strides in fighting corruption through the anti-money laundering framework legislation, which will empower financial institutions like the FIU , LACC and others.
Regarding the IAA, he said a new framework is being created to enable the entity to be more vigilant, because they are responsible to advise the government in terms of spending public resources, while a new framework for audit is being looked at by the GAC.
“We have the Liberia Anti-corruption, and a new framework that will give power to the LACC to prosecute government related cases is underway, while a new access declaration framework, including the passage of the whistleblower act as well, is expected soon.”
He disclosed that the government is also making efforts in domestic revenue push and expenditure push, adding that a public management tracking system in line with the PFM will be created, so that the public can know exactly what government is doing with revenue collected and how it is expended.
For his part, new USAID Mission Director Jim Wright made a commitment to continue working in the same step of his predecessor.
He said, “We are looking to increase transparency and build confidence and trust for Liberia.”
USAID Director Wright noted that his institution is proud of working with the Ministry of Health, and with funding provided, it was a good sign for Liberia.
He indicated that the USAID is certain to achieve the objectives with programs between the government of Liberia and USAID, in line with looking at the portfolio review and target of what needs to be done in terms of programs USAID is supporting.
According to Mr. Wright, the USAID is trying to set up a new five year program, with broad geography coverage.
“We continue to focus on areas where funds are going to improve those sectors, to improve in education, we are working on a new methodology framework also,” he said.
He revealed that the USAID currently has a team that has been sent into the field to access its financial program in the counties, and they will expand to other upcoming programs in the country, adding that they are trying to improve the financial management area of Liberia.
He expressed the need for the government to attract actual investment, by continuing to provide information about opportunity.
“Under investment climate, you need to address various constraints in terms of access to finance and electricity, which are big problems for you”.