MONROVIA – Liberia 2022 July 26 National Independence Day celebration Orator Minister Mawine Diggs called on Liberia’s international and development partners to review the modus operandi of their funded projects while at the same time reviewing the impacts of those projects.
She lamented while Liberia has gone through different layers intended to enhance democracy, accountability, and the rule of law, the form, and manner in which donors operate their funds have never changed over the years.
“Let me boldly say that in terms of addressing governance and accountability concerns, we have done everything as a nation, from changing governments, to fighting a senseless war, firing ministers and heads of agencies, voting new members of the legislature, but yet the one thing that remains constant is the mode of operation of donor funding regardless of the government in power or the lack of tangible impact seen. This must change. Accountability must be on all sides,” she said.
According to the Orator, there must be honest exchanges and flexibility in the operations of development partners in order to truly support the agenda of the country. Min. Diggs called for the reduction in the level of bureaucracies in the approval and procurement processes and the excessive control over these projects. According to her, these bottlenecks can lead to reduced impact and subsequently shift the pressure back to the government, which in most instances has little or no control over these projects but yet is held accountable for the dollar value of these projects.
“As we actively engage in the development of our country, I believe it is now time that we sit as partners and fully examine the impact of these donor-sponsored loans and grants in order to assess the true impact on the lives of our people. What goes into deciding how projects are determined or selected? Where and in what part of the country are those projects implemented? And under whose authority are those monies expended?” she asked rhetorically.
“If we were to pause for a moment and request the dollar value of the total amounts in donor funding over the last decade or two, whether in the form of loans or grants I am certain it will be several billions of dollars. Yet, if we are to match that with the corresponding impact, we would all agree to a re-examination of the mode of operation of donor funding,” she said.
The orator noted that on average, it takes half of a presidential term, if not a whole term to get a donor-funded project signed, implemented, and completed. Something she said needs to be looked at critically.
Meanwhile, Min. Diggs has thanked the National Legislature for the passage of the Dual Citizenship Bill which she says would go a long way in uniting Liberians.
“They say home is where the heart is. This is indeed the Land of Return for all Liberians: Once a Liberian; Always a Liberian. No law should have to separate brothers from brothers. We all have a stake in whatever direction this country takes and it is, therefore, our collective responsibility to ensure Liberia regains its rightful place amongst the comity of nations. It is with this charge that I feel an obligation to address how we as individual citizens portray our nation to the outside world. What we say matters but most importantly, what we do is what will ultimately make the difference. Honestly, it is quite simple to sit behind a computer or better yet call into a radio or online show to speak negatively about Liberia. But let me tell you this today, such actions do not demonstrate strength, courage, or love for the nation, quite the contrary, it demonstrates weakness, arrogance, and lack of patriotism in the face of opportunities to engage and make an impact in your country.”
The Minister of Commerce called on all Liberians to come together in unity in rebuilding the Liberia everyone desires. She at the same time called encouraged all Liberians to maintain peace, love for country and one another, respect for human rights, and obedience to the rule of law.
Reported by. S. Nathaniel O. O. Wisseh