The Liberian economy is weathering the storm of reduction in the prices of the country’s primary export commodities: rubber and iron ore with no new investment three years into the George Weah led administration. The crisis is even compounded by the avalanche of the Corona Virus Disease (Covid-19) that is wrecking havoc across the world and destroying economies.
On evening of December 19, 2020, a day after President George Weah lighted the “National Christmas Tree” to begin the official festive season, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf posted on Twitter that the opulence displayed at the “Liberian President Christmas Tree” was indeed impressive but with the country’s difficult economic climate, it is an affront to the thousands who have not been paid and are hungry”.
The former Liberian leader’s comment was in apparent recognition of the prevailing economic challenge that abound in the West African nation in the buildup to December 25 -Christmas day.
For months now, Liberian civil servants, businesspeople and ordinary citizens are struggling to get the country’s own currency because commercial banks are finding it difficult to dispense cash including United States Dollars.
The scarcity of cash has also drawn the attention of the United States Government through its Embassy near Monrovia that travellers coming to Liberia should bring along their own cash for their upkeep for the duration of their stay in the country because banks and ATM machines are out of both Liberian Dollars and United States Dollars.
In response to his predecessor, President Weah said “Madam Former President, let me refresh your memory about what OPULENCE is: OPULENCE is when Chevron gives 10 Million USD as CSR and you gave it to your son to squander.
He added “OPULENCE is when you have 4 billion in Foreign direct investment, but leave Liberia in abject squalor and poverty. OPULENCE is when you have 11 budget shortfalls in 12 years and yet spend tens of millions on failed projects like the Executive Mansion repair fiasco.”