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11.08.2019 Opinion

The Pro-Poor Economy means Poverty for the Liberian People!

By Ernest S. Barkpalah
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The question of the state of the pro poor economy is now acquiring specific importance both in theory and reality due to the extreme hardship in the country. The increased in fiscal and monetary sluggishness have immensely intensified the decay of strangulation and economic contraction, thereby creating a precarious situation for the ordinary citizens who are the most vulnerable.

The awful strangulation of the working poor and vast sections of the unemployed people as a result of official corruption and economic mismanagement by the CDC ruling clique has added distress for the already poverty-stricken masses. This means the Pro Poor Agenda for Development is like a suicide vest wrapped around our economy with the detonator given to a kid. The consequences, in the very short period, have pushed the levels of poverty up, undermined living standards, and dragged more and more people into poverty, at least that is what the excessive hardship in the country reveals.

Good governance, the rule of law, and profound economic policies are the key drivers for the attraction of foreign direct investment and the entrenchment of sustainable economic growth, whereas the lack thereof are the factors that explain socio-economic failure. Further, Pluralistic political state creates a level playing field where most citizens can, amongst other things, secure property rights, have access to an impartial judicial system and develop their personal skills freely. These in turn foster confidence in governance and trigger the engine of steady economic progress. To put it the other way, political freedom paves the way for building a productive society with economic advancement at the heart of it. The key actors in this pro poor economy lack the strategies to develop and implement policies that will put the country on the buoyant path of economic recovery which will then improve living standards and ensure prosperity for the people.

According to the IMF, the growth forecast for 2018 was estimated at 1.2 percent, while the forecast for 2019 based on current policies was readjusted to 0.4 percent from 4.7 percent (IMF 2019 Article IV Consultation with Liberia). A sign of depreciation in our economic growth rate in the midst of the amassment of ill-gotten wealth by our leaders unearths the internal crisis in the pro poor government. The IMF findings further show that the economy has already crumbled with no recovery in sight, at least for the foreseeable future. It is in the dustbin due in large part to fiscal indiscipline and gross incompetence.

Thus, we can liken the economy to the crisis of an exclusive institution. Crises in exclusive institutions have disastrous effects on economic growth. In such a situations, citizens do not have motivations to invest or innovate since there is little space for them to contribute more meaningfully to the economy. Here, even though the elite may acquire properties and enjoy very high living standards, the downtrodden masses will be constrained by exploitation. As a result, the nation itself will deteriorate.

The unprecedented decline in the livelihood of the masses and vagaries of the economic collapse are pushing them down the economic ladder, as well as increasing the social problems in the society, as some are taking to crime to survive. This situation is triggered by the fact that their leaders have chosen to play a laissez-faire role, ignoring grievances and chastising critics for speaking against bad governance. This frustrating situation has the tendency to force the people to take to the streets to rescue themselves from the crisis. Taking into consideration the prevailing economic crisis, this is the ultimate outcome.

The last regime was the organ of exclusivism and nepotism; however, the present regime of the indigenes is an instrument for exploitation and mass looting of the national resources. The current ruling clique of opportunists have used the acquired power to hold down and dominate the people. With the masses experiencing such pain, we can bet that the end of the regime is soon, owing to the leadership failure that is accompanied by ineptitude and unsophistication.

We are now rapidly approaching a decisive moment in the existence of our country when the oppressed class will rise against their class enemies purporting to be their emancipators. Their action will be catalyzed by the continued oppression and direct strangulation. It is against this backdrop that they will rise to demand economic liberation. To them the era of participation is now. This revolution will be a necessity, the regime will fall under the heavy blow of the people.

About the Author:
Ernest S. Barkpalah is a member of the Bureau of Information, Propaganda, Research and Guidance of the Vanguard Students Unification Party (SUP), and an emerging Agronomist from the University of Liberia. He can be reached via 0776549287/0886833887 or email [email protected]

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."