President George Weah’s administration has outlined a myriad of concrete successes in its first year. Speaking to EmployLiberia, the Comptroller and Accountant General of the Republic, Janga A. Kowo disclosed that since assuming the mantle of leadership, the government has and is undertaking series of concrete pro-poor projects aimed at transforming the lives of Liberians whilst alleviating and mitigating crippling poverty.
Kowo said, President Weah, mindful of the tough times Liberians go through to attain tertiary education, abolished tuition fees at all public universities and colleges for undergraduate students.
The President’s declaration at the time sparked a chorus of celebrations amongst young people in the country, particularly at the state-run University of Liberia, where registration formalities particularly the timely payment of tuition had sparked protests and massive school dropouts amongst students.
The Liberian President recalled irritating conditions of the last several decades in which students of the University of Liberia and Liberians desirous of earning a college degree endured.
“With a student body of close to 40,000 students, it has been extremely difficult to efficiently manage the registration and administrative processes of the University on a manual basis,” Kowo, a graduate with two degrees from the state-tun university, reflected on some of the ordeals that prevented too many Liberians from getting a college degree.
Mr. Kowo said the President’s decision will go a long way in harnessing the country’s human capital. Since commencing industrialization 75 years ago, Liberia’s core competency has been the exportation of its raw materials something which many economists have bemoaned as untenable.
The nation’s chief accountant said the President is strongly committed to education evidence of annual payment of West African Examination council (WAEC) fees for 12 graders. The President in an a bid to motivate Liberian students, said Mr. Kowo, awarded the seven top students of WASSCE scholarships to advance themselves abroad. “This is the first time in the country,” he noted.
The Comptroller General disclosed that the medical field of the country remains badly understaffed due to lack of professional doctors. The administration, he averred, sent 18 medical doctors abroad for professional specialized training. “Upon their return, they will be major players in the medical fields, providing expert medical care at the same time transmitting knowledge to their fellow compatriots in the field”, he declared.
The government, he said, has expended US$2million on the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Medical Center for refurbishment and the deployment of state of the art equipment. JFK was infamous under the previous governments before the last earning the unenviable moniker as “Just For Killing”. Since the inception of Weah’s led government the brouhaha that engulfed the JFK has subsided as the government frantically work to improve service at the country’s largest medical facility.
Kowo revealed that the government has placed 2,000 health workers on the Government payroll. The health workers, he said, are being paid handsomely, US$ 2000 per month. The entire undertaking said Kowo, cost the government US$11 million.
Speaking on the 14 military hospital which is the flagship medical undertaking by the Weah’s government, Kowo said that project is well in progress. Kowo noted that the 14 military hospital, which costs $2million is being erected at a breakneck speed and will be functional in earnest.
The government, he said, has embarked on a massive public infrastructure development. All around Monrovia and also in Buchanan and Gbarnga construction works are being carried out. Kowo said the construction works which is being carried out by Liberians companies have brought a lease to many young Liberians who are employed by these companies.
He opined that the government aimed to scale up road connectivity next year.
Mr. Kowo said Agriculture has been identified as one of the mainstay of the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD). “We have identified agriculture as a driver of our pro poor agenda, and I can assure you, Liberians farmers will be trained and given seed funds to improve their yields” he exclaims.
He disclosed that the administration through the Agriculture Minister launched a mechanized rice harvest of 200 acres in Lofa county, the breadbasket of the country. The huge upland rice investment project is under the Liberian Agriculture and Infrastructure Investment Company (AIIC) owned by a young Liberian entrepreneur, Mohammed Kamara.
“Small businesses and farmers are the life-blood of our economy and we will provide them the necessary subsidies to grow their businesses and projects” he bragged.
Predicated upon this, said Kowo, President Weah’s administration launched a US$3 million Pro-Poor Loan scheme aimed at empowering struggling Liberian businesses surmount their longtime spectators’ role in the Liberian economy.
The launching of the US$3 million micro-finance loan scheme for Liberian businesses heralds concrete steps by the President to place citizens into a controlling position of the economy.
Kowo intoned that the Liberian government has attracted US$3.1 million grant from Iceland, a Nordic country on the margin of Europe. The financial support from Iceland, said Mr. Kowo, will go towards improving Liberia’s fishing and aquaculture sector.
He said that the project is a major achievement that will develop the country’s first standardized laboratory for testing fish and other cold food products for exports. “Our acqua sector has huge potential to provide steady stream of job opportunities for not only fishermen and women but several people. We are committed to transforming the sector,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the Comptroller General has disclosed that the government has paid out US$9 million arrears with the Liberia electricity corporation. He said the payment has empowered the corporation to acquire the necessary equipment and personnel that will fast track the delivery of electricity service to Liberians.