Since President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her nationwide message titled “Call to Challenge” asked Liberians to tighten their belts as the country faces foreseeable challenges, many Liberians have become apprehensive. But the Liberian Leader has clarified that, although the Liberian economy is stressed due to drastic decrease in the prices of the country’s key commodities on the global market, the sky is not falling.
“It is obvious that our economy is in stress but the sky is not falling,” she told a local radio talk show in Monrovia on December 30, 2015.
The Liberian president assured that efforts are underway to cut back on excess spending in government. “We will put in place the requisite austerity measures to avert the scourge.
“We are beginning to see in the mining and agriculture sectors layoffs, reduced income and taxes, scaling back in current activities, bankruptcy, and delayed investment outlays in various projects,” President Sirleaf cautioned.
Despite these ominous signs of economic downturn, President Johnson-Sirleaf pointed out that the difficulties the country faces today are not unique. “Many other countries faced similar challenges and continue to suffer the effects of global decline in commodity prices, but we must be determined to demonstrate character, commitment and political will during this turbulence,” she said.
The Liberian Chief Executive assures that her administration will leave no stone unturned to recover lost gains. “I ask for your support as we take the action necessary to do so. I also ask for your full participation in everything that we do. We came together in unity and strength to defeat the Ebola virus and we must continue in the same character to face down this new challenge,” she added.
On the overall macro-economic picture, the government’s economic management team has been able to keep spending in the economy at an appreciable level to continue to enhance the circular flow and maintain macroeconomic stability.
But though growth rate has remained positive, they have been very low compared to previous years, owing to the twin shocks of the Ebola outbreak and the commodity price shock.
Growth in sub-Saharan Africa has slowed markedly - from 5 percent in 2010 to 5½ in 2014, and then less than 4 percent this year. With Sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest increase in economic freedom over the past half-decade, Liberia’s score has advanced by 6.2 points. Progress in reducing corruption, improving fiscal accounts, and opening the economy to trade and investment have further cemented Liberia’s progression out of the “repressed” category.