The year 2021 was a memorial one as there were many gains and challenges during the year under review.
It presented us tons of opportunities as well challenges as a nation and people. The latter were the global surge in the COVID pandemic, crippling some of the strongest economies on the planet- and posing the greatest health threat to mankind since Spanish Flu of the early 1930s.
In the face of COVID the nation’s economy was on its kneels- nursing a 31.6% inflation rise. Uncertainties were alluring above the economic horizon. The economy was able to rebound due to strong fiscal measures put in by the government.
By mid-year fruits from a well-structured fiscal reform program began to yield fruits. From a whopping 31.6% inflation, Liberia’s inflation now stands at a lowest post Ebola record of 7.5% percent, that’s according to the World Bank. The World Bank has further projected that growth is expected to hit 3.5% in 2022 and 4% in 2023 respectively.
According to the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), for first time domestic revenue has exceeded $600 million. This means that most of the national budget is funded by domestic revenue collection.
Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah Jr., presented a historical budget, Liberia’s largest post war national budget to the Legislature in November exceeding more than US$786 Million Dollars.
President Weah has since placed a moratorium on borrowing from the CBL in addition to reconstituting its board of governors- giving the Bank more independence.
Also in 2021 president Weah ordered the Ministry of Education to procure 100,000 armchairs for secondary schools across Liberia. In addition, the Ministry of education was able to secure US$58 million dollars grant from the World Bank to construct 24 schools across the country.
Additionally, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and West Africa Senior Certificate Exam (WASCE) have reported that 82% of Liberian students who sat last year’s exam made a successful pass. An unprecedented feat. Thanks to president Weah for paying secondary schools WAEC and WASCE fees.
In October President Weah’s Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel Falo McGill launched on behalf of the President, a national Secondary School scholarship drive. Students from Margibi, Bong, Grand Bassa have already benefited from the initiative.
For the first time in 12 years, the doors of the executive mansion are about to be opened. Civil works on both the interior and exterior of the seat of the President are ongoing. The Weah administration has spent a little over $3 million dollars to achieve this feat.
PUBLIC BUILDINGS UPDATE
During the year in review, the Weah Administration has been working hard to end the long tradition of government spending millions on renting of public buildings. At least six major buildings including sub-offices were completed and dedicated in 2021:
1. National Port Authority (NPA); Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation (LPRC)
3. National Security Agency (NSA), Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), Forestry Development Authority (4 new regional offices), Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, has completed the construction Postal Offices in 13 out of 15 counties.
In 2021, the Liberian government was able to complete and dedicate four major markets including: Omega market complex. Duala market is nearing completion, while Saniquellie, and Bo Waterside General markets are ongoing.
POWER GENERATION & ELECTRICITY
During the year in review the government of Liberia was able to begin a massive street light project- lighting up most parts of Monrovia, and it’s environs, including some county capitals. The project has brought a huge security relive to pedestrians across the country.
The Liberia Electricity Corporation is continuing the installation of new transformers in various communities across the country. LEC has also brought in more than 300,000 new meters that help reduce power theft.
The Government of Liberia is working with authorities of CLSG to fully restore power back to Liberia. Bushrod Island, Joe Bar, Maryland, Yekepa, and Grand Bassa and Grand Cape Mount substations have been energized during the year in review. According to CLSG the government will commission the stations early this year- ending most of Liberia’s power nightmare.
HOUSING UNITS FOR RURAL DWELLERS
LACE has completed 187 housing units for residents of Sass Town, Grand Kru, more than 120 for Grand Gedeh, and 150 for the slum communities of Popo Beach and New Kru town.
More than 400 housing units for both Bong and Nimba residents are ongoing- with contractors accelerating the process to meet timeline.
The Ministry of public works also announced that it was able to complete more 167 kilometers of road during the year in review. While more than 200 kilometers is still ongoing. What a mammoth achievement so far.
ROADS & BRIDGES
The Timbo Bridge linking Rivercess and Grand Bassa was rebuilt. The Du-River Bridge in Harbel, linking upper and lower Margibi was dedicated.
River Gee to Haper 43 Kilometers road was completed and commissioned.
Ganta to Yekepa Road is ongoing, while Logatou road is also ongoing.
Tapita to Zwedru road is experiencing a volta-face for the first time. Machinery are buzzing through thick mud to end the nightmare for commuters. $128 million has been mobilized through the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Mardina Robert Sport Road has commenced. Lofa Road through Zorzor- to Vonjamin is ongoing with portion being paved.
For the first time in many years, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital (JFK) now has its first intensive care unit or Trauma Unit. JFK was also able to acquire it dialysis center, which will cater to patients with Liver and Kidney complications. The hospital was able to carry out a major refurbishment of the hospital facility in many years- thanks to President Weah’s initial pronouncement of US$500,000 for the work.
A 100-bedroom hospital in Borpolu City, Gbarpolu County is ongoing. Thanks to a bilateral visit by the Saudis.
The US$14 million Redemption hospital is nearing completion. When completed the hospital will provide medical services for more than 300,000 people.
Early last year February, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, President George M. Weah dedicated the 14-military hospital, a facility that was used in combating COVID to date.