By Alex Yomah
The President Pro-temp of the Liberian Senate, Albert Chie, has admitted that governments have miserably failed citizens in the areas of agriculture and electricity.
Addressing a segment of the 102-graduation class of the University of Liberia yesterday, Chie said despite the bountiful rain, vast stretches of land, trained manpower, an array of programs well-funded by the national budget as well as international donations and contributions, the government has failed in agricultural production.
“We import almost everything, including oranges and pepper. Self-sufficiency in the production of rice, our staple food, remains elusive,” Pro-temp Chie told graduates of the College of Science and Technology and the College of Engineering.
He mentioned that on the average, Liberia imports approximately 250,000 metric tons of rice or 10 million of the 25 kg bag at the cost of US 140m annually.
“This importation continues to dwindle our foreign exchange reserve and impacts negatively on our balance of trade position and the achievement of macroeconomic stability,” he said.
The Grand Kru County lawmaker who is an executive member of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) further stated that leadership in the agriculture sector also remains elusive.
“One President after the other has tried various qualified personnel to run the agricultural sector including managers from the private sector, still agricultural productivity remains very low. What are we doing wrong? My young prospective graduates are you ready to Change the narrative in the political and economic recipe,” Chie questions the graduates.
At the same time, Chie also descended on the electricity sector and described it as another sector that receives more funding without productivity.
He stated that governments and partners have spent millions of United States dollars since the end of the civil crisis and up to present in an attempt to provide reasonable and affordable electricity to the various households and businesses, yet power supply still remains indefinable.
He said the government is taking steps to reform the sector like in 2015 for instance, the Legislature passed a new electricity law that unbundled the sector thereby creating opportunities for private sector investments and to bring to an end the monopoly by the LEC.
He said there were reforms done in line with international best practices which saw the designation of the Ministry of Mines and Energy as the institution for policy setting, the creation of the Liberian Electricity Regulatory Commission as the institution for regulation and the LEC as an operator.
“Windows were also opened for more operators. The donors brought in management contractors, pumped in millions and the government also contributed millions through the national budget. Since the end of the civil crisis, our people in the various communities and businesses are still crying for legitimate connections, transformers and reliable electricity,” decried.
Gov’t Fails In Agriculture, Electricity
…As Pro-Temp Urges Graduates To Change Narratives
By Alex Yomah