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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

LIBERIA: MILLIONS GO IN BREEZE

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In a shocking revelation, leaked documents obtained by the Concord Times have exposed the failure of several state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Liberia to contribute to the government’s revenue basket. This failure, amounting to a staggering USD 21.1 million in 2023, has significantly undermined the country’s growth and development. In this report, Lyndon J. Ponnie, Sr. delves into the detrimental effects of this unpatriotic act on Liberia’s progress.

The leaked documents shed light on the distressing fact that six prominent SOEs, namely LPRC, NPA, FDA, LTA, etc., have neglected their obligation to contribute to the government’s revenue. This negligence has resulted in a substantial loss of USD 21.1 million, leaving a gaping hole in Liberia’s financial resources.

The repercussions of these SOEs’ failure to meet their financial obligations extend far beyond a mere fiscal loss. Liberia, a nation striving for growth and development, heavily relies on revenue generated through these state-owned entities to fund vital infrastructure projects, public services, and social welfare programs. To have such a significant shortfall hampers these essential initiatives, directly impacting the lives of the Liberian people.

The absence of financial contributions from these SOEs also highlights a lack of accountability and stewardship. As entities operating under the umbrella of the Liberian government, it is their moral duty to fulfill their financial obligations promptly. Failing to do so reflects a disregard for the country’s progress and a lack of patriotism.

One cannot undermine the fact that these funds could have been channeled towards key sectors such as education, healthcare, and industrial development. The failure of these SOEs to contribute their due share disrupts the government’s ability to invest in crucial areas, hindering the overall growth and well-being of Liberia’s citizens.

Addressing this issue requires urgent action from both the incoming Joseph N. Boakai government and the SOEs themselves. A thorough investigation into the reasons behind this failure is essential, along with implementing robust financial management systems to prevent this from happening in the future. Furthermore, there must be clear consequences for those found responsible for this negligence. They must be made to account for the losses.

The failure of prominent SOEs in Liberia to contribute to the government’s revenue has dealt a severe blow to the country’s growth and development. The loss of USD 21.1 million, coupled with a lack of accountability, undermines the progress that Liberia strives to achieve. It is imperative for all stakeholders involved to prioritize rectifying this issue promptly, ensuring that the financial obligations are met, and the necessary reforms are implemented to prevent such negligence in the future. Only then can Liberia regain its momentum towards a prosperous and thriving future.

The report for the fiscal year 2023 from the Ministry of Finance paints a worrisome picture, highlighting the financial missteps within these institutions. Despite projections of USD 3 million and USD 5 million, LPRC and NPA have failed to pay anything to the government’s revenue basket. This revelation raises questions about the management and accountability of these profit-making SOEs.

One such institution guilty of not fulfilling its contribution obligations is the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA). Documents demonstrate that the LTA should have paid USD 10,395,000, but only USD 2,995,140.3 were contributed, leaving a considerable balance of USD 7,443,557. Lonestar mobile Network, with a projection of over USD 3 million, contributed a mere USD 186,986, leaving a significant shortfall of USD 3,135,465. Similarly, Orange, with a projection of over USD 7 million, paid only USD 2,764,418 and had a balance of over USD 4 million. The leaked documents reveal a variance of plus and negative USD 21,151,524.

Insiders have alleged that a connivance between these SOEs and individuals within the Ministry of Finance and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has contributed to the looting of public funds.

Shockingly, some of these institutions have not paid their quotas for several years, raising concerns about the transparency and accountability of the government’s financial oversight and connivance between them and people responsible to ensure compliance.

This breaking news story calls into question the effectiveness of state governance and highlights the urgent need for increased supervision and regulation in Liberia. The government and relevant authorities must take swift action to ensure that these SOEs fulfill their financial obligations and contribute towards the country’s growth and development. Detailed coverage of this matter will be provided in our next edition. None of the SOEs mentioned have not been able to be reached for comments in this except for the LTA. A Lady who responded to our call on the issue responded in a very hostile manner. She did not give her name, but simply said the paper information was a pure lie. He indicates that LTA is up to date with her contribution to the Government’ Revenue basket.

Recently former Auditor General John Morlu called for the audit of every employee at the LRA. Morlu said some of the country richest people in Liberia are found at LRA.

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