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Who’s Tailored In Boakai’s 100 Days Plans? –As Senate Embarks On Appointees’ Confirmation With 70 Days To Go

By Bill W. Cooper

The Unity Party-led administration of Joseph Boakai seems to be taking shape, while the question on the minds of some Liberians is whether his starting lieutenants will be able to execute his 100 plans effectively, with barely 70 days left for execution.

President Boakai has hit the ground running, with focus on rebuilding the country’s economy, improving healthcare, access to quality education, construction of major road networks, revitalizing the agriculture sector, and increasing the fight against corruption, among several others. 

However, his government inherited enormous challenges, beginning with meeting the high expectations of the Liberian populace, which, apparently, was why he used 28 of the 100 days in office just to make appointments and set up his government, though it is not clear whether his cabinet is completed to date.

But since assuming office in January 2024, many Liberians are now wondering whether President Boakai’s already-confirmed officials would be able to fit into his plans effectively, with themselves rolling out their respective plans head-on before their legislators during confirmation.

This piece is intended to delve into the profiles and promises made by these officials during their confirmation hearings, which are expected to match the President’s 100 days vision while they assume their respective roles.

President Boakai, during his first State of the Nation Address on January 29, disclosed that the state of the Liberian economy is a cause for concern, with Liberians facing perennial unemployment and economic instability. 

As a result, the President stressed the need for his government to not just recognize the pain and frustration that permeate the society, but also work together to introduce and pass legislations that will prioritize economic reforms that foster sustainable economic growth and job creation.

In fulfillment of the Liberian leader’s assertion, Finance Minister Boima Kamara told the Liberian Senate during his confirmation that repositioning the current state of the country’s economy will require a more secure and sustained financing for critical investments, with serious optimization of public resources for the betterment of the citizenry.

He noted that the repositioning process of Liberia’s economy, especially at an extraordinarily challenging time, coupled by effects of COVID-19, and the Ukraine-Russian war on the global economy stalemate, with invitation for global growth and demand of development export from Liberia, must have the qualified and prepared individuals with the right strategies to make it work.

Kamara, however, assured that he will work to reposition the country’s economy on a sustainable path and carry out reforms that place more emphasis on agriculture, roads and education, disclosing that he shall renew and enhance partnership with development partners to ensure development assistance be aligned with the country’s national development plan.

He recommended the reintroduction of a more disciplined and transparent way of transaction with trade and commerce, stressing the urgent need to bring on board bright minds to tackle the current inflationary rates of the country.

Like President Boakai’s vision for the country’s Agriculture sector, Agriculture Minister, Alexander Nuetah, outlined what many would term as an ambitious agenda, in line with the President’s quest to promote and modernize the Liberian agriculture sector.

President Boakai said Liberia is endowed with abundant natural resources, and with over 40 percent of West Africa’s rainforest; Liberia is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna that should help provide economic and agricultural growth opportunities.

The President noted further that Liberia is also a leader in the discussion on climate change mitigation, placing emphasis on the importance of international partnerships for sustainable agricultural production and development.

He added that in order to recognize that Liberia’s available arable land is underutilized, his government is committed to harnessing the right resources and strengthening collaboration with international partners and local farmers to improve production. 

Buttressing the President’s vision, Agriculture Minister-Alexander Nuetah assured the Senate of his commitment to prioritizing agricultural development, providing support to farmers, enhancing food security, and boosting economic growth through agricultural advancements.

He also promised to invest heavily in mechanization, modern farming technologies, and irrigation systems to increase crop yield, efficiency, and enhance sustainability.

Nuetah added that he will collaborate with local farmers and stakeholders to implement strategies that increase crop production, while diversifying the agricultural value chain, all in his 100-day plan. 

Road connectivity has been one of key priorities for all governments, and Boakai’s is no exception, as one of his famous promises is that ‘no car will get stuck in the mud within his first 100 days in office’.

The President re-emphasized that the expansion and improvement of road networks in Liberia remain a top priority for his administration.

While there has been some progress in the road and transport sector during the reviewed period, he is aware that there still remain considerable challenges in road development across Liberia, adding, “This is why we have commissioned a no car stuck in the mud 100-day deliverable to make all major primary corridors pliable across Liberia, and my government is committed to said vision.”

Public Works Minister-Roland Giddings explaining ways to implement the President’s ‘no car stuck in the mud’ 100-day plan, assured the Liberian Senate that the President’s vision is achievable and that modalities were being worked on to jump-start the project.

According to him, roads remain a critical infrastructure for development of Liberia, and as such, “This is why the government’s ARREST agenda highlights roads as a major catalyst to drive economic prosperity.”

Giddings explained that his administration will adapt a strategic approach to generate the needed resources to carry out road constructions, pointing out the road network program, promising that his administration will focus on key areas, including road investment, to include construction and rehabilitation, maintenance of existing and new roads, amongst others.

He added, “Sustainability efforts will be focused on roads, bridges, accessible patrol management, tow system, road safety, and institutional reform. We will reinforce appropriate investment in roads and bridges to extend access across the country.”

Another key area that President Boakai’s 100-day deliverables target is revamping the fragile health sector, which remains a major priority for the next six years of his presidency.

Boakai vowed that his administration will prioritize the availability of needed medical supplies and logistics in all public health institutions throughout the length and breadth of Liberia. 

Others are regular, efficient, and robust monitoring and evaluation of health services in the country to accelerate the reduction of Maternal and Newborn Mortality, establishment of regional diagnostic centers, and regulation of Health Care and pharmaceutical institutions in the country to meet international standards.

However, in Health Minister Louise Kpoto’s own promise to the legislators, she gave assurances of prioritizing the establishment of a dedicated trauma unit in the healthcare system as a means of ensuring a vibrant health sector.

She said the trauma unit, once erected, will reduce the burden on John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in catering to burnt and accident patients across Liberia, and pledged to ensure proper training of staff, availability of necessary equipment, and a streamlined referral system to enhance trauma care across Liberia. 

At her confirmation hearing, Kpoto reminded herself that the country’s largest health center is overwhelmed with many minor cases which require government’s attention, and as such, the need for the trauma unit’s establishment cannot be overemphasized. 

She also narrated that her 100-day plan will focus on infrastructure, education, and motivation, coupled with monitoring and evaluation; placing key emphasis on medical practitioners, mainly assigned in rural Liberia, assuring of her plans to provide a conducive working environment for all healthcare workers. 

She then pleaded with the Senators to ensure the needed budgetary support to enable her, along with her team, revamp the country’s health sector, adding, “Give me the necessary support and you will get the health sector that you all, our President, and all Liberians, want to see.”

Meanwhile, there are still challenges, ranging from job creation, hike in basic commodities, coupled with the high unemployment rate and unsafe and sustainable employment opportunities, incompetence to deliver, and corruption, among others.

With only 70 more days left in his first 100 days, citizens, inclusive of critiques, expect that those who have crossed the Senate’s gavel will keep focus on President Boakai’s goals and work tirelessly to deliver on their promises, and as well meet the expectations of the Liberian people.

The next few months will be critical in determining the success of Boakai’s presidency and the future of Liberia, as the eyes of the nation are on him, and the pressure is on to deliver tangible, real-time results. 

Follow us as we continue to match the promises of those in the first half of Boakai’s government with the 100-day deliverables, with what was promised at the Legislature during their confirmation, as well as those whose appointments have not yet been confirmed.

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