Ganta, Nimba County – At the opening of his government’s third cabinet retreat which formally got underway on Monday, July 11, 2022, in Ganta, Nimba County, the President of the Republic, Dr. George Manneh Weah challenged his officials to redouble their efforts toward the realization of the government development objectives enshrined in the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, PAPD.
In a special statement marking the official opening of the retreat, President Weah hailed the Cabinet for the able and effective execution of their respective functions during the last period under review, but equally queried them to reshape focus because more remains to be done.
The President acknowledged the tremendous progress of the last four years in the implementation of development projects across the country, which status he said is imperative to review, to ensure that they are aligned with the government’s goals and intentions to take our country to its desired destination.
Consistent with the theme for the Retreat, “Pushing Forward for A Better Liberia,” he said it was high time members of his governance team themselves as to the things they must do “to ensure that Liberia is a better place than when they got it.”
According to the Liberian Leader, finding answers to such questions “must be the primary focus of the thinking of the Cabinet throughout this Retreat.”
President Weah said he expects that participants will actively engage in the Retreat, which comes ahead of what he termed a crucial period for his Administration.’
The President called for the cabinet’s active participation in the Performance Management and Compliance System, which, according to him, requires all Ministries, Agencies, and Commissions to develop a comprehensive, critical, and analytical report of policies and programs, particularly on those instituted during the government’s stewardship.
He said in October 2023, just 16 months from now, “the Liberian people will have the constitutional opportunity to reward us for the results we are achieving. It is therefore imperative that all hands are on deck with a full commitment to ensure that we get a resounding victory.”
President Weah used the occasion to debrief on recent unfolding developments in the sub-region, mainly ECOWAS specifically the election of a new chairperson of the Bloc, the appointment of a new President of the ECOWAS Commission, and many other areas.
“The leadership of the ECOWAS Commission was also changed, with the Presidency being passed on from Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou of Cote d’Ivoire, who had served in that capacity since 2018, to Dr. Omar Alieu Touray of The Gambia,” he told the Retreat.
He reported on the significant progress made in dealing with the military interventions in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, through the direct and vigorous engagements, to hasten their return to civilian rule and constitutional governance.
President Weah said “sanctions were lifted against Mali, in response to the declaration by the military of a fixed timetable to turn over power in 24 months, by 2024, which date was acceptable to ECOWAS. Burkina Faso released the former President, Mr. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré from all forms of detention.”
On the situation in Guinea, he noted that a new ECOWAS Mediator in the person of Mr. Thomas Boni Yayi, former President of Benin, has been appointed, stressing that “developments are the result of persistent engagements by ECOWAS to ensure stability, democracy, and peace in our sub-region.”
President Weah also informed the Cabinet of his participation in the African Summit of the International Development Association of the World Bank in Dakar, Senegal, along with 22 other African Heads of State.
He said deliberations at IDA20 were successful, amid a strong start to IDA’s twentieth financing cycle in Africa.
“We called the attention of the World Bank and its agencies to the fact that our continent is experiencing reversals of development gains triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and compounded by climate change, food insecurity, conflict in the region, and the war in Ukraine,” the President said.
According to the Liberian President, leaders at the Summit welcomed IDA’s decision to approve an IDA20 financing package of US$93 billion to help all countries supported by IDA recover on a greener, more resilient, and inclusive path.
In keeping with this development, President Weah has instructed Government Ministries, Agencies, and Commissions to engage the IDA and World Bank to ensure that Liberia benefits from these funds, mainly focusing on health, education, agriculture, digital economy, youth and women empowerment, roads and ports, energy and gender.
He noted: “Accordingly, we have carefully selected a set of priorities for consideration during this retreat.
As the agenda, he said, the Retreat is looking at the PAPD performance, the outlook of the national economy, management and coordination of foreign aid, and a review of the 2022 Legislative Agenda.
Other areas are increasing accountability and transparency in Government, enshrining a culture of performance and delivery of results, improving coordination and teamwork in government as well as a review of Presidential priorities for the next 16 months
However, as part of the Retreat activities, the President will tour key development projects and initiatives in Nimba County.