By: Mohammed B. Kiawu / Former Student Leader AME University and a son of Cape Mount
For the record, I have not met Minister Konneh neither have I interacted with him. I only read some of his posts and followed his development stories as Minister of Finance. In fact, he’s arguably the only Finance Minister that can defend himself always with substantive data with respect to the development roadmap when he served as Minister of the Fiscal House. He can better do this more than I do. But let me tell you exactly what I know about the Liberian economy when Amara was piloting the Liberian economy.
Harry, recently, you were using a name known as ‘Ma-Ester Son’ and later changed it to your real name. I’m told you did it because you never wanted people to dig up your stories and strong statement against the performance of George Weah before and after the 2017 election. I’m even told that you have deleted almost all of your posts during these periods. But trust me; I have many screenshots and other recordings from your 2017 provocative talkshow ‘The Red Line’. Howbeit, hope the oldma (Ma-Ester ) is ok where ever she is.
Throughout my write out, I will prefer to address you as ‘Ma-Esther Son’, the name I dearly love, or Mr. ‘Managerial Economist’, the name you gave yourself apparently because of the sexy tone the title carries. Ma-Esther Son, I read your distorted and teleguided analysis marred by flaws with ‘cherry-picking’ years about Min. Amara’s performance as Minister of Finance. Yes, as an amateur and armed-Chair researcher, you selectively took Liberia’s painstaking years (2014 to 2016) to impress your newest paymaster (Tweah), but refused to tell what went on from 2012 to 2013 and also the positive news from 2014 to 2016 amidst the challenges we had as a nation. Mr.
‘Managerial Economist’, the sexy professional title you loved to be called even though you have a background in Business and leadership, please take your notepad and pen as I survey the Liberian economy in these periods of Amara’s regime and further tell you that your boss (Tweah) who is pitifully bagging almost an expired first degree in economics has done nothing as a Finance Minister since the foundation of Liberia. Ma-Esther Son/Mr. self-proclaimed Managerial Economist, let me put you in the know that the Liberian economy continued to have solid economic growth since the cessation of conflict in 2003; averaging around 7 per cent per annum. Over the course of 2012, Liberia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at a rate of 8.3 per cent, higher than the 7.9 per cent growth recorded in 2011. GDP growth for 2013 was around 8.84%. The Ebola had big socioeconomic impacts on many economies and Liberia was of no exception. Even if we were to have the World Bank President or IMF Chief as Minister of Finance, nothing could change the story due to the structure of our economy (huge exportation of natural resources and other extractive commodities). This was unavoidable! The man you are falsely celebrating as the ‘Best Minister’ was in the employed of the government as a consultant during these painstaking times. For him, he had zero tools to even tighten the shock absorbers of the struggling economy.
See what went on Ma Esther son: In 2014, the economy was hit by the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak which paralyzed economic activities in all sectors of the economy. The impact of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) on the economy was compounded by the steep decline in global commodity prices of our major exports – iron ore and rubber. As I informed you earlier, prior to the outbreak in 2014, the economy grew approximately 8 per cent on average. The EVD epidemic, however, weakened activities in all sectors of the economy, resulting in timid real GDP growth of 0.7 per cent in 2014 to 0.3 per cent in 2015. That was a double shock! The economy was expected to rebound in 2016. However, recovery was constrained by the sharp decline in the prices of iron ore and rubber on the international market. As a result, planned investments in the mining sector were put on halt by existing mining operators. A prolonged period of low commodity prices curtailed tax and export revenues significantly and at the same time weakened the medium-term growth prospects of the economy.
Ma Ester Son/Self Proclaimed Managerial Economist (Another Liar man), let me take you to the global front of the economy during these same troubling economic periods! Between 2014 and 2016, global growth was very moderate. The overall global growth was at 3.1 per cent in 2015, 0.3 percentage point below the 2014 level resulting from the slow pace of recovery in advanced economies since the financial crisis (check the MFDP and CBL Annual Economic Review, 2015). The decline in emerging economies for the fifth consecutive year was also a factor and resulted further in low productivity growth, high public and private debt, financial sector weakness, fallen commodity prices, low investment and re-adjustment of growth in China.
Ma Esther Son/Mr. Lie-Lie Managerial Economist, let me also educate you today and I hope you will take it into consideration because the more you listen and take note, the better your condition. Get that to the back of your head today that macroeconomic stability is not all about ‘GROWTH’ as you limit your argument always. I don’t know where you got your training as a Managerial Economist. Macroeconomic stability entails many economic indicators for the general health of the economy. Now, even with the under-heated economy during these mentioned times, there was broad exchange rate stability with depreciation rate in single digits; consumer prices were kept low and stable with inflation rates below 10 per cent; poverty, maternal mortality, life expectancy, and other socioeconomic indicators showed improvements as compared to your self-praised Minister (Tweah).
Looking at the inflationary numbers, inflation rate at the end of December 2015 stood at 8.0 per cent, up from 8.7 per cent recorded at the end of January 2015. Between January and December 2015, end of period inflation decreased by 0.7 per cent.
Ma-Esther Son/self-loved Managerial Economist because of the romantic title: let’s look at the performance of the man (Tweah) you are even educated than at the level of Minister of Finance. Mr Tweh became Minister in 2018, but retrospectively, after a negative growth of 1.6% in 2016, our Real GDP growth recovered to 2.5% in 2017 under the Unity Party Regime in which the economy was managed by Min. Boima Kamara. But since this old intercity truck driver of the United States of America in Mr Samuel Tweah, took the mantle of authority as manager of our economy, his performance has been very dismal. He has zero knowledge about the economy possibly because of having no background in any specialized field in economics (the man quotes fundamental economic principles and theories since, in fact, he’s a first-degree holder). Mr. ‘Managerial Economist’, a significant economic rebound was expected for 2018 and 2019, but the IMF subsequently revised its estimations due to increased macroeconomic instability and worsening monetary conditions under the leadership of Mr.Tweah.
When Mr. Tweah took over in 2018, our economy that was recovering declined by 1.22%, a 1.25 decline. A year later in 2019, Mr Tweah wrongfully injected the engine of our economy due to his limited knowledge by -2.28%, a 3.5% decline from 2018. Although it was projected by the World Bank in 2020 at -2.5%, it currently stands at -3%. For this, I will not squarely hold him responsible due to the current global economic fragility (COVID-19). Looking at some macroeconomic variables uncle the InterCity Truck Driver turned economist (Mr Tweah), foreign exchange inflows shrank in 2018, triggering a depreciation of the Liberian dollar by about 26% and a sharp rise in inflation to 23.5% in 2018. Inflation remained high at 21.7% in 2019. What did your Mr Tweah do to stabilize this? Going forward, according to the latest World Economic Outlook of the IMF (April 2020), the inflation rate should decrease sharply to 13.8% in 2020 and 13.5% in 2021. Public debt increased to 45.5% GDP in 2019. It is expected to continue to increase in 2020 (51.1% GDP) and 2021 (56.9%). Is this good news? Harry, Jacob, and Clinton of the paradoxical “Liberia Rising, I challenge you to refute the data I provided and leave the usual ‘red herring’. See you next time!
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