Without a doubt, the current economic situation in the country leaves little room for even diehard supporters of the Weah administration to be happy about. Of course, when we say diehard supporters of the Weah government, we are talking about the hundreds of thousand commoners who stood under the scorching sun and drenching rain to ensure victory at the 2017 polls for their man, George Oppong Manneh Weah. Definitely, this editorial does not refer to the handful of blue-collar, white-collar bureaucrats hanging on the tailcoats of the Weah bandwagon, hoping to hug the limelight and benefit from the spoils of his statecraft.
The economic situation before the 2017 elections, in comparison to where we are today, is not anything to write home about. To say that the common people are frustrated would be the biggest understatement of 2018.
This is what Patricia Julu, a fresh fish seller down Rally Town Market, has to tell her president: “Oppong said he came to help us. I voted for him because I like him and wanted him to be president. But things are too hard now. Some of us have children, and the only way we send them to school is to sell fish. When school opens I don’t know whether I will be able to send my children to school. I live as far as Johnsonville but have to pay my way to Rally Time Market everyday just to sell. This is my advice to our president George Weah. We are appealing to him to take the US dollar from the market. In this country now, the money is like the three Hebrew boys: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. We have the US dollars, the old Liberian dollar and the new Liberian dollar. It isn’t supposed to be this way. Right now we are buying half bag of rice for LD2,100 in the city. In Johnsonville, we buy the same half bag for LD3,200. President Weah must come to our aid.”
Patricia is not alone in her cry for succor from the stringent economic hardship. Although the government has instituted a policy reducing tariff on commodities, prices of those commodities continue to rise. What can be done to remedy the ugly situation as the Central Bank sits supinely while the exchange rate runs amok?
The call for a national confab to address the appalling economic situation, we think, is in the right direction. It is hoped that government will hearken to this call, which should be approached from a non-partisan angle so that the voices of all stakeholders are heard and taken into account. This could be the way forward in addressing not only the current economic situation but other issues that affect our common patrimony.