President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Pres. Sirleaf Confident Of Economic Rebound
MONROVIA, January 24 (LINA) - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has expressed optimism that Liberia's economy will return to a trajectory of positive growth as a result of several measures to be implemented under the nation's Poverty Reduction Strategy.
President Sirleaf said although the nation's economy plummeted to zero percent as a result of the Ebola crisis and other economic shocks, through resilience and determination things have stabilized with growth in 2017 projected at 3.2 percent.
"The economic shocks profoundly affected fiscal performance. In fiscal year 2015/16, actual revenue declined by nine percent, or US$51.8 million," President Sirleaf noted Monday in her final Annual Message to the nation.
The Liberian leader said given the continuing economic difficulties, the nation adopted a conservative approach for fiscal year 2016/17, projecting revenue at US$555.9 million.
She indicated that the Legislature subsequently approved a budget based on revenue intake of US$600.2 million, adding: "This could be a challenge to collect unless we work together, with cooperation from the public, to intensify mitigating factors such as tax compliance and enforcement of anti-money laundering and anti-corruption measures."
President Sirleaf noted that government has concluded collaborative partnerships with several institutions and bilateral partners.
She said the performance of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) which was established in July 2013, to administer and enforce revenue laws in accordance with the Liberia Revenue Code, will determine Liberia's progress in increasing the level of domestic revenue.
The Liberian leader emphasized that the declining trend in official development assistance is a clear signal of the unsustainable nature of foreign aid, and as such government must widen the tax base and identify alternative sources of income.
This, according to President Sirleaf, includes investments in infrastructure that would result in diversification of the economy and, potentially, increase domestic revenue.