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  Liberian Economist Wants Government to Reduce Spending on Cars and Rents

Economic Consultant Yanqui Zaza wants the next administration to reduce expenditure on the purchasing and maintenance of cars for government officials. Mr. Zaza recommended that Government should consider purchasing Bajaj or inexpensive and low maintenance vehicles for its official uses.

Mr. Zaza’s remarks formed part of his presentation at the Governance Commission’s Policy Dialogue on the theme “the State of the Liberian Economy as at January 22, 2018”. The Dialogue was held on Friday December 15, 2017 at the Lutheran Conference Hall on 13th Street in Sinkor.

According to Mr. Zaza Government spends millions of United States dollars annually to cover rents, purchasing and maintenance of cars for public officials and institutions, monies which go rather go toward improving social services for the people.

The Liberian economist also recommended, among other things, that the next administration prioritize the agricultural sector to ensure that the country grows its own food, and get more involved in the gold and diamond trade instead of living these to foreign businesses. According to Mr. Zaza, other countries (like Botswana) are doing same to enhance development related programs and projects for their countries and peoples. Liberia has fertile land and enough rainfall needed to enhance agriculture. Interestingly, majority of Liberian farmers live below the poverty land.

 The IMF and World Bank are said to mandate governments not to be involved in such the gold and diamond trade if they wish to benefit from international grants and loans but Mr. Zaza said such restrictions perpetuate poverty.

Mr. Zaza also recommended that Liberia organizes a Conference to raise necessary funding, further explore economic development and principles that support empowerment and growth, and investigate World Bank and IMF operations and restrictions as they relate to economic empowerment of third world countries.  

 

Mr. Yanqui Zaza’s presentation also focused on a number of concerns on expectations and challenges the next government will need to tackle.  He identified some of these challenges to include idle indiscipline youths (recommending boot-camp to help train them); people needing reconciliation; hungry people; tensed communities; and job creation as major immediate concerns.

He said Liberia has an economic system that is based on excise taxes – user taxes with NASSCORP among public institutions generating revenue based on excise tax for some time now. Since 2006, donor annual support to government is estimated at US$400 million….with another estimated US$400 million generated from revenue by government. Most State own-entities are said to be performing dismally.

According to Mr. Zaza, the Central Bank is broke, and Government continues to report debts owed the Central bank and not those to contractors, private banks, and business people. He noted that Government reports unrealistic revenue projections in order to meet the expectations of Wall Street IMF/World Bank (as others do) to qualify for international grants and loans.  Mr. Zaza disclosed that private Banks are aware that the Central bank is broke and are no longer willing to credit or underwrite cost of government projects.

Mr. Zaza noted that Projections, recasting of or Increment in the national budget are made without any explanation to the people as to the cause.  “No explanation of the variance. Civil servants are forced to pay taxes in US dollars. Are we fair in our projections; do we focus on national priorities; timely preparation of the national budget; depreciation of the Liberian dollar against the US dollars. Demand for the US dollars makes the Liberian dollar worthless. Where are the new Liberian dollars that were printed?”

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