President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Gov’t Adopts Medium-Term Debt Strategy
By Peter Kahler/LINA
MONROVIA, January 27 (LINA) - The Liberian government, working with key development partners, has adopted a Medium-Term Debt Strategy (MTDS) to account for and analyze the costs and risks associated with borrowing and ensuring a balance with funding needs.
This action is taken being mindful of the past, exercising caution in contracting debt and assuring debt sustainability, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said in her Annual Message to a Joint Session of the National Legislature Monday.
She disclosed that the country’s total debt stock increased from US$628.45 million to US$759.46 million, of which US$290 million is owed to the Central Bank of Liberia, representing 22 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
But the president noted that “it is considered ironic by our partners who have granted us significant debt relief that we are unable to convince our own public institutions and private sector entities who have made significant profits over many years to act similarly by relieving us of the debt incurred many years ago under other administrations.”
Pres. Sirleaf observed that prior to the Ebola outbreak, between January and June 2014, Liberia’s partners committed a total of US$197.6 million in Official Development Assistance (ODA) to support the Agenda for Transformation.
She said about two-thirds of that amount was invested in the Economic Transformation Pillar to support important infrastructure and that disbursements were significantly reduced during the second half of the year, due to the Ebola outbreak.
“Although project activities continued sporadically, attention was shifted from our national response to the epidemic,” the Chief Executive said.
To date, a total of US$244.2 million has been spent on the Ebola response, by Government and its international partners - 49.4 percent is being expended by US Government entities, 24.4 percent by United Nations entities, 13.3 percent by NGOs, and 12.9 percent by Government, the Liberian leader noted.