Monrovia, Liberia- In few days, the CDC-Led Government will have made ten months in office. These soon-to-be past ten months, though engulfed with controversies and criticisms, are enough time for any government official to start performing with tangible results. With almost 300 days gone under this regime, The Liberian Billboard Editorial Team have scrutinized some major Ministries and Agencies performances, and have attached grades to their leaders in that regard.
Please see grades of Ministers and Heads of Agencies and brief analysis below:
1. Minister of State: Nathaniel McGill (D)
Minister McGill is known in circles as the Prime Minister or defacto President of the current government. All issues affecting Ministries and Agencies are channeled through the office of the Minister of State before reaching the President. In fact, Minister Nathaniel McGill shares top spot with Samuel Tweah in terms of officials who have influence on the President. Added to his influence, is the power to oversee all major appointments and governmental assignments, something it has been reported to have been controversially carried out.
Despite the power and influence of Minister McGill in this government, he has not effected any major change, and in fact, he is known as one of the major spoilers. Although most of the appointments he have forwarded to the President are not effective, he has chosen to remain mute and in fact often forward names to the President based on favorability. Well, he still helped to fill vacant positions in government, and based on that, he got a D on our scorecard.
2. Minister of Finance: Samuel Tweah (F—–)
We are aware that in the grading system, there is nothing as such as F—–, however, to lay emphasis on his failure, our editorial team decided to include five minuses on Minister Tweah’s grade.
The current government claim that they took over a broken economy, agreed. However, the economic condition of Liberians during the Sireleaf regime were by far better off than the that of the current government. With only a US$25 million stimulus relief proposed, and which had almost no impact on Liberians, Minister Samuel Tweah and his team at the Ministry of Finance have not been able to structure any developmental plan or major economic policy and reform to guide this administration through the rest of its term. In fact, besides pending deals left by the Sirleaf’s regime, Mr. Tweah has not been able to bring the government of Liberia any major financing for development. The EBOMAF and ETON Loans which he boasted about in press conferences are dead. The financing from the World Bank in the sum of US$500 million seem far from happening.Under his watch, a L$15 billion controversy popped up.
The Ministry is code-on-code concerned with only expenditure more than formulating plans to relieve the country from the current economic hardship, or formulating real developmental plan to improve the lives of Liberians. Based on the above, our editorial team didn’t hesitate to unanimously agree that the Finance Minister in his first 300 days, has failed miserably. Therefore, he received F—– on our scorecard.
3. Ministry of Commerce: Dr. Wilson Tarpeh (D)
Growing up, one of the popular names that was associated with academia in Liberia was the name, Prof. Tarpeh. Students of the University of Liberia, and later Cuttington Graduate School revered Minister Tarpeh name when it came to economics and courses associated with finance.
At the beginning of the tenure of this administration, the Chief Inspector at the Ministry of Commerce, Madam Josephine Davies was seen a few times on Facebook Live exposing businesses that were selling expired products. This action on the part of the Inspector brought a lot mixed reactions, however, accolades going her way seemed to be more by then. In fact, her action was giving the Ministry of Commerce some positive reviews. Suddenly, it all stopped.
The Ministry of Commerce which is responsible for price regulation in the country, has not been able to effectively regulate prices of commodities on the Liberian Market. Even if there is a drop in the rate of the United States Dollars, things prices remain the same or at interval even go up. The Ministry has failed miserably in regulating prices, and seem to not even have control over business in the country. This failure on that part of the Ministry, has attributed immensely to the current economic crisis in the country.
With no adequate enforcement of current laws and no formulation of new policies and measures to regulate prices, our editorial team see the Ministry of Commerce as failing miserably in its first 300 days. With Minister Wilson Tarpeh heading that entity, we no reservation in giving him a D on our scorecard.
4. Ministry of Public Works: Mobutu Nyenpan (B)
President Weah has stated that the priority of his administration is roads construction. True to his word, and with limited funding available, the Ministry of Public Works have continued projects started under the Sirleaf’s regime; famously completing the Redlight to CoCa-Cola factory road, and launched the 2nd phase construction of the Somalia Drive Road.
In addition, the Ministry of Public Works for the first time paved the road in the Doe Community area, and recently awarded contracts to several Liberian companies for the pavement of community roads in Montserrado; some of which have begun. Furthermore, with a US$54 million grant from China, the construction of two overhead passes linking the ministerial complex in Congo Town to the SKD Boulevard is in the works. Plans for the construction of a major highway linking Somalia Drive to Sinkor through the Kesseley Boulevard has been revealed. Feasibility studies on the coastal highway projects ann other feeder roads have been completed.
With very limited funding at his disposal, Minister Nyenpan has shown a lot of potential in getting things done. The start of these community road projects in Montserrado alone is a great start, therefore, our editorial team with no hesitation, gave Minister Mobutu Nyenpan a grade of B.
5. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Gbehzongar Milton Findley (D)
Under Minister Findley’s Foreign Affairs, Liberia has been able to effectively maintain its One-China policy, a major benefit to this administration. However, the government of President Weah seem a bit far from our traditional partner, the United States. In addition, Liberia has not been able cement major bi-lateral arrangements with other countries besides normal aid packages from international organizations like the EU, UN and World Bank which are not really forthcoming.
Although he has been attending international conferences on behalf of the country, Liberia has not been able to cement major international investments and most of Minister Findley’s travels have not really yielded the necessary results for Liberia.
Based on the above information, The Liberian Billboard editorial team concluded to give Minister Findley the grade of D.
6. Ministry of Information: Eugene Nagbe (C-)
The information arm of government, the Ministry of Information was blessed to have seen the head of the entity retained. The retaining of Minister Nagbe saw the continuation of the weekly Press Briefings which started during the Sirleaf’s regime.
However, besides the weekly press briefing, the Ministry has not been able to effectively disseminate information to the Liberian public in a coordinated manner. An example of the issue is the L$16 billion saga, where information released by Minister Nagbe was trashed by Minister Tweh. The Ministry does not even have a working website and a visit to its old website will give you information from the Sirleaf regime, followed with a message at the top which states, “Site undergoing construction.” For the Ministry which is supposed to inform its citizens in this modern era has not put up working website almost 300 days into this administration, says a lot.
The Ministry of Information has not even formulated an information dissemination strategy which would blend or filter information from all entities to be published by the ministry. Most often, officials of the Ministry use personal Facebook accounts to publish information relating to government and rely on the pages of other government entities for information.
As seen above, the Ministry of Information has not been very effective in its activities. We cannot ignore the weekly press briefings but there are a lot that are still not done. With these lapses and little efforts, we have awarded the grade of C- to Minister Eugene Nagbe.
7. Ministry of Justice: Minister Musa Dean (F+)
The Ministry of Justice in 300 days has not been able to effectively prosecute pending corruption cases, or neither successfully investigate the series of unknown murders which have occurred since this government came to power as well as gender related cases.
To date, the only case which prompted an immediate release from the Justice Ministry was the issue of the missing L$16 billion, a release Finance Minister Samuel Tweah termed as false and misleading.
With tons of cases at the Ministry, the public have been left in the dark on outcomes or progress, if any. Many other agencies under the supervision of the ministry are in poor state, notably, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, the Liberia National Police, the Drug Enforcement Agency, etc. There has been no effort by the current administration of the entity to create reforms in security agencies and the Liberia Justice System, thereby going on with the status-quo initiated by past administrations.
Minister Dean is not adequately performing. Therefore, he shares an F with Minister Tweah; the difference is a plus: F+.
The analysis done on Ministers above were compiled based on past and current news, interviews and opinions of ordinary citizens, as well as The Liberian Billboard own investigative reporting. Watch out next week for Part II of The Liberian Billboard Government Officials Scorecard.