Weah Wants: Economists, Bankers, Engineers, Farmers, Teachers, Construction Companies from Nigeria

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President George Weah’s begging spree hit an embarrassing low on March 5, 2018 when he pleaded with the Federal Republic of Nigeria to help Liberia nearly with everything: economists, bankers, farmers, construction companies, engineers and teachers to execute his “pro-poor” governance manifesto.
The President wants Nigeria whose economy is recovering from recession to fix Liberia’s economy. He did not say how. Perhaps President Muhammadu Buhari will send economist here.
“We need Nigeria’s help to jump start our economy,” Weah said.
The Central Bank of Liberia has forecast that this year the country’s economy will grow at 2.5% GDP.
For Nigeria, the International Monetary Fund has projected 2018 GDP growth at 2.1 percent compared to the 2.6 percent of the rating agency, Fitch, and the revised World Bank’s 2.5 percent.

According to The African Economic outlook, the Nigerian economy continues to face serious macroeconomic challenges. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2016 was estimated at -1.5%, with a moderate recovery expected in 2017.

“This is attributed to a series of shocks, including the continued decline in oil prices, foreign exchange shortages, disruptions in fuel supply and sharp reduction in oil production, power shortages, and insecurity in some parts of the country, as well as low capital budget execution rate (51%). Managers of the economy responded to the recession with a package of monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policies.”

As reported by the Nigerian Punch newspaper, Weah wants that West African country to help Liberia with agriculture experts and investors.

According to the encyclopedia of nations, just like Liberia, Agricultural holdings are generally small, scattered and farming is subsistence and characterized by simple tools and shifting cultivation.

Also seeking solution to his country’s “troubled” education system, Weah begged Buhari who said in November 2017 his country’s education system is in a “tragic situation” to send to Liberia 6,000 of its teachers who failed competency tests designed for children aged ten.
“Under the bilateral teacher exchange program we are seeking 6,000 plus teachers to make up for the shortage of good teachers in our educational system, “ Weah is quoted in the Nigeria media.
In November 2017, about 21,000 primary school teachers failed competency exam programed for students under 10- year-old.
Buhari said of the results: ‘It is a very very serious situation when teachers cannot pass the exam they are supposed to teach the children to pass. Is a very tragic situation we are in.’
This prompted Kaduna Governor Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai to tweet the test results of the primary asking the public: ‘Would you allow someone like this to teach your child.’ See page 7 for test results.

Weah said in Nigeria: “The prices of our two basic export commodities, rubber and iron ore, continue to fall on the world diminished market. Our foreign exchange earnings from the export of these and other commodities are used mainly on the importation of food and other commodities, causing massive trade deficits.
“Youth unemployment is at an all-time high, and prices of basic commodities continue to increase.

“Our people have voted for change and for hope. And change is finally here. But mere political change is meaningless without development, prosperity and growth.

“We need Nigeria’s help to jump-start our economy. You played a major role in bringing peace to Liberia, you reformed our Army and today it is performing its duties to the highest professional standards.
“As we speak, they are serving in a peace-keeping mission in Mali. You have also built and expanded the capacities of Liberians in so many ways.”

“More specifically, under the Bilateral Teacher Exchange Programme, we are seeking 6,000 plus teachers to make up for the shortage of good teachers in our educational system.

“In agriculture, we are seeking experts and extension workers to build capacity in the sector, particularly with crops, (such as cassava, for example), which lend themselves readily to value-added propositions and export earning potential.”

“The Liberian banking sector is dominated by Nigerian banks, and I am made to understand that their head offices in Nigeria may be considering reducing their support or even shutting them down because of the recent downturn in our economy.
“If this is true, l urge them not to do so, as l am optimistic that trade and commerce will increase in the near future.
“There are also major shortcomings in the electricity and power sectors, in road construction, in housing, in mining, and in fisheries, to name a few, that could be of serious interest to Nigerian investors, either as individuals or companies, or through joint ventures or public-private partnerships.

“We invite all of you to come to Liberia and explore the many new opportunities for investment that are bound to increase under this new political dispensation.

“I promise you that you will find a government that is not only business friendly, but ready to do business.”

– Festus Poquie