By Konah Rufus
NAYMOTE Partner for Democratic Development, Liberia’s leading civil society organization has released its 2022 president meter report on the performance of the George Weah administration as it relates to those promises made from the 2017 presidential election.
Addressing a press conference Wednesday January 18, 2023, The Executive Director of the organization Mr Eddie Jarwolo said the assessment report found that 292 promises were tracked, of which only 8% (24 promises) have been fully implemented by the government over the last five years.
Mr Jarwolo further said that the assessment found that the implementation of 91 promises (31% of all promises was ongoing during the reporting period. Therefore, out of all promises, attempts have been made on only 39% (the sum of those completed and those with ongoing activities).
Nearly two-thirds of all promises, 61% or 177 promises, were identified as ‘Not started/ not rated’ because the government had not commenced work on their implementation, and there was no available information on the status of those promises.
As a result, the majority of the pledges achieved by the Weah government fell under ‘Pillar 2 of his Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development,’ which is the country’s development Manifesto. Pillar 2 tackles ‘Economy and Jobs’ and has the greatest completion rates of the three pillars.
“The majority of the promises implemented are promised under Pillar 2 of the Manifesto (Economy and Jobs). These constituted (56%) of all completed promises. Specifically, promises on infrastructural development received a high completion rate — constituting 38% of all completed promises,” the report said.
“Pillar 1 of the Manifesto (Power to the People) which has a total of 106 promises, has the lowest completion rate of 8%. Although the completion rate under Pillar 4 (Governance and Transparency) remains the lowest.”
While the Weah government, according to the Naymote report, has achieved many commitments under Pillar 2 of his development strategy, poverty in Liberia remains prevalent, with 50.9 percent of Liberians living below the poverty line and a sizable number living in extreme poverty.
The World Bank in its Poverty & Equity Brief on Liberia, updated April 2021, noted that 44 percent of the country’s estimated 5.5 million people lived under the extreme international poverty line of US$1.90 per day and that the proportion of poor households living below the international poverty line was projected to increase to 52 percent in 2021.
Also, IMF Staff Country Reports Volume 2021 noted that widespread poverty and inequality undermine the country’s most valued asset, preventing people from achieving their potential — while facing some form of income or food insecurity and vulnerability.
Currently, about 2.3 million Liberians are unable to meet their basic food and non-food needs — with poverty being higher in rural areas — home to 71.7 percent of the poor compared to 68 percent of the total population, the IMF report said.
Worse, nearly half of Liberia’s labor force is unskilled, as businesses struggle to locate local skilled personnel, according to the US Department of State’s 2022 Investment Climate report.
The report, which was issued a year after the IMF report, stated that Liberia’s chronic underdevelopment is the result of its people and knowledge capital not being developed to productively and sustainably harness the country’s natural resources and generate wealth.
This illuminating assessment also comes as Liberia’s economically active populations are expected to grow from 1.6 million in 2018 to nearly 2 million in 2023, with nearly 80 percent of them found in informal employment, according to the IMF.
When asked to grade the government based on the statistics provided, Mr Jarwolo said it is not his organization’s responsibility to tell if the government of Liberia failed or not. He mentioned that as a civil society organization they will only provide the statistics, it is up to Liberians to decide if the government has failed them or not.
Since the release of the report, there has been series of reaction to the performance of the George Weah led administration amongst citizens of the country. Many believe that the George Weah administration has massively failed them, nothing that to have completed 8% of 292 promises in more than five years is complete failure. While others have the believe that the George Weah administration is doing better, stating that the government has been going through lots of challenges ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Russia Ukraine war.
Mean while, the Government of Liberia is yet to react to the report.
The President Meter project is an annual report released by the NAYMOTE Partner for Democratic Development since 2006 that rates the performance of the president of the Republic of Liberia based on the promises made during and after the campaign period.