Speaking Wednesday on the Capitol Breakfast Club talks show, in Monrovia, Deputy Minister Jackson said greater progress has been made since 2008, but the advent of the Ebola virus, as well as fluctuations in the global economy stalled progress in the country.
Jackson has admitted to several challenges in the Unity Party led government, but argued that these challenges are being overly exaggerated by members of the opposition, adding, he was at loss of words when opposition politicians claim that the economic hardship facing the country is a direct result of mismanagement on the part of government, and not the cause of exogenous factors.
The Deputy MICAT boss told Capitol FM’s Capitol Breakfast Club that during such difficult time, diversification of the economy is the best option – an option which was not possible to execute when the GDP was in a total decline.
“We experienced national crisis and even America experienced that too. The exaggerated manner in which the opposition is characterizing the situation is unfair. We could not have diversified the economy considering the fact that the country’s economy was in 90 percent decline when we took over in 2006,” Jackson said.
He outlined that besides other achievements, the government has also enacted the Small Business Act that will allot 25 percent procurement to Liberian businesses and 5 percent to women businesses and the total of US$70 Million other Liberian owned establishments.
He said President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf must be commended for the efforts made in resuscitating the country’s economy because Sierra Leone and Guinea are reporting negative growth.
Deputy Minister Jackson added that the decline in the price of Liberia’s primary export commodities, iron ore and rubber on the world market is a global issue that cannot be controlled locally.
“The opposition community thinks it is an instant coffee situation, but it is not. It is a different thing when you are in the picture dealing with issues. The government does not have control over the basic commodities price, and am sure also that the opposition do not have control either,” said Jackson.
It can be recalled the All Liberian Party standard bearer Benoni Urey, in an instant reaction to the President’s Annual Message, said the Liberian economy was experiencing meltdown because of government “management” and not the often quoted global shock.
“We still patiently await a concise report on the true state of the economy from our President. The Constitution requires that the President is duly responsible to present the economic condition of the Republic. We would remind the President to tell us the state of the economy for 2015 the year under review and not what she accomplished a decade ago,” Urey said.