Liberia: Finance Minister Tweah’s Output Underpins Lack of Progress Tackling Ailing Economy, Says Multiple Experts

It’s no doubt that Liberia’s economic quagmire which threatens the Government of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of President George Weah was brought about by massive corruption and wrong economic policies of former ruling Unity Party of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, but multiple diplomatic sources and economic experts also agree that the lack of confidence in the country’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning Samuel Tweah is compounding the situation. Concord Times editor, J. Lyndon Ponnie reports.

In the view of the experts, it is only when people have confidence in the economy and those who manage it that the public feels secure in their jobs, spend more, and are optimistic.

In the same vein, when people lack confidence in the economy and those who manage it, there is the tendency for the people to decide to spend less, save more, and remain pessimistic about jobs and the economy.

Confidence Vs Economic Stability
Confidence is such a driving force in the economy that the media often reports on it—you can watch confidence rise and fall weekly thanks to Gallup Poll’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index, which is based off of asking Americans two questions: How would you rate the economic conditions in the U.S. today? Do you think the economy as a whole is getting better or worse? Polls like this show how confidence that individuals have in the economy has an aggregate effect, which in turn affects the economy.

The easily-chartable feeling of confidence can often lead to a boom and bust cycle, the process of economic expansion and contraction that happens repeatedly.

Economists argue that understanding confidence (and how to change it in people’s minds) is essential to managing an economy successfully.

Why is it important to manage confidence? Because when panic and worry about the economy set in and filter through the population, recessions can be triggered. When recessions hit, the government will oftentimes have to provide a stimulus package in order to boost employment and spending, as the U.S. government did in response to the recession that lasted from 2007 to 2009.

Put simply, the idea is that if there’s an increase in government spending, that extra money will end up in the pockets of others, who will then spend the money and so on, creating a positive domino effect, or multiplier effect.

According to Diplomatic sources, whatever that is done to save the Liberian economy even with help of the International Community, will not redeem the messy situation due to one reason—the lack of confidence in the man who’s driving the resuscitation program.

Why Tweah’s Performance is Suspected?

Our sources told this paper that there is so much lack of confidence in Minister Samuel Tweah so much so that it is not only Liberians, but also members of the International Community.

They assert that while it is not the right of the International Community to tell the President who to appoint in his government, they say the writings on the wall are clear: public’s negative perceptions, reinforced by poor performance as a ringleader of the national economy, hold Tweah fully responsible for the worsening state of the economy.

This is in addition to what the sources contend could cost President Weah his base that could abandon him if the economy further deteriorates.

From all indications, our sources continued, Minister Tweah and his team at the Ministry Finance and Development Planning have no clear policy programs to put the economy back on course. If they had, they lack the will or the knowhow to implement. A year and half, they say, is sufficient to prove anytime Finance Minister is capable or incapable.

“There is no single progress, tangible or abstract, under the financial leadership of Mr. Samuel Tweah in the last 20 months to show that he is fit for the job,” said one expert who, like many others spoken to, does not want to be named.

“This means his economic prescriptions are faulty; he’s not up to the task and his official economic advice to the President prove only disastrous.”

President Weah is a populace leader who came to power on massive support from the masses, particularly slum dwellers. And there is a likelihood that the masses support to the President is dwindling in gallops and may vanish in few months, contend the sources interviewed.

According to one, the continued stomaching of Samuel Tweah who masks his clear “incompetence” with histrionics and rhetoric is doom for President Weah.

“It is like taking yourself to drown cleaving to a huge pile of nonessential outfits,” the expert said. “Until the President recovers from his stupor imposed by the charm of Tweah, the longer he sets himself against success and against public approbation.”

Tweah himself in a widely broadcasted radio interview Monday spoke of how public perception and public opinions are a huge enemy to the Weah administration.

He was right, said one diplomat, who added that it is true that the greatest enemy of the Weah administration is negative public perception and public opinion which unfortunately find roots in the dismal performances of individuals President Weah entrusted critical responsibilities to.

“During this clearly sponsored radio interview,” the diplomat said, “there is something else that Tweah cleverly escaped saying. And that is his own failure or what seems to be his incompetence to perform—something that exactly gives fertility to the growth of the negative public perception and public opinion against the government.

He needed to have said there is huge public perception against government because of me or some of us who are hated for poor performance.”

The sooner Tweah takes his leave from the Liberian economy and finds vocation elsewhere, perhaps in the government’s communication regime, and a trusted and competent Liberian replaces him, the better for President Weah in particular, and the nation in general. Because Tweah’s exit will attract new confidence and hope in Government from both national and international actors and institutions.

“But if President Weah overlooks this and remains consumed by Tweah’s oratory charm or spiritual manipulation against the President, the President will have himself to blame; for the country risk being plunged into a devastating hubbub,” said an economic pundit.

Video of the day

All Liberia Party Standard Bearer Benoni Urey speaking to media executives at his residence in Careysburg.