Mayor Koijee Receives City Mayor of The Year 2020 Award

Monrovia: The Lord Mayor of the municipal city of Monrovia, Hon. Jefferson T. Koijee has been named “City Mayor of The Year 2020/2021” by the Women Voices Newspaper.
The youthful mayor was presented the award by officials of Women Voices Newspaper on Monday, January 18 at his Monrovia City Hall’s office in Monrovia, and championed as one of the best personalities and goal getters of the year 2020/2021, for his immense contributions and dedicated governmental services rendered to the nation and people.
The inscription on the award reads: “Certificate of award presented to Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee in recognition and appreciation of your exceptional accomplishment, dedicated and patriotic services aimed at sustaining peace, maintaining tranquility and fostering nation-building rendered during the year in retrospect (2020), for which you have deservingly won our CITY MAYOR OF THE YEAR – 2020/2021 accolade.”
The Women Voices Newspaper was established in March 2011 and is one of Liberia’s leading news and media institutions aimed at promoting women and children issues and advance change at the same time remaining commercially sustainable.
Speaking during the turning over of the award, madam Helen G. Nah-Sammie, CEO and Publisher of Women Voices Newspaper acknowledged that Mayor Koijee is a genuine inspiration to the young generation of Liberia. “We see him as a young mind that other people will be able to follow because this is a deep institution and in Monrovia, our citizens including us, even though we are from the media, are hardheaded”.She then appreciated his work and effort in curbing the scourge of COVID-19, highlighting some of his many contributions. “We watched him doing the coronavirus time when he was even washing the whole waterside. I followed him once or twice across the Duala area cleaning the place”, she added.
In furtherance, she said “walking from place to place thinking that people he’s going to meet would be affected and I knew that, I too got taste of it and said we can’t get vex. So looking at that when my people brought up his name I said oh yes, I followed him one or two or three times doing this work. And I see lot of young people who are probably sitting on the fence doing nothing. And you look at somebody within a position and you see them working, let’s put hands around them”.
In her concluding statement, Madam Helen G. Nah-Sammie mentioned that Liberia is our common denominator and that all Liberians, regardless of socioeconomic status, political and religious affiliation must work in unity for the collective betterment of the motherland. “Liberia is all what we have. We have to all work together to make this place a better place. So Mr. Jefferson Koijee, we congratulate you again and say thank you for your work that you are doing, continue to do what you are doing”, she added.
In acceptance of this prestigious award, Mayor Koijee lamented his deepest gratitude for such recognition and he admonished media institutions to not always see the negative aspect of their labor but to give them their accolade as in the maxim “give the man his flowers while he is alive”.
During his speech, Mayor Koijee said “not just the award, but the institution that has thought it wise to point out and notice contribution that public officials are making. And I can say to you, it’s quite easy to condemn, whether those who are condemning you get solution, condemnation is what people easily like to hear because it speaks to people’s situation. But too often because of something being so popular and easily launches people into popularity, people just go ahead doing that”.
He further move on to say “and to see you as a news agency that’s propagating the forward match of our country to rise above the challenges and circumstances in this country to point out, I want to say this is a nationalistic and patriotic step, and I think we as Liberians must begin to take our minds off negativity”.
Meanwhile, Mayor Koijee re-echoed that Liberia has come a long way and as such called on all patriotic and nationalistic citizens and public officials to begin to give attention to Women Voices Newspaper is going beyond her eye.
He said that one of the easiest things to seeing a paper being very strong and admired is to consistently demean and condemn government officials; and he thanked ‘Women Voices’ for helping to change and rewrite the narratives.
“I’m not saying that everything we do is right. In as much as you condemn us, you must muster the courage to be able to flag some of those positive aspects of our leadership, so we, too, can be inspired. What you have done today will serve as a source of inspiration that yes indeed our work is being monitored, not just being politicized and condemned, he concluded.
This award does not only serves as evidence to the many unique contributions made by Mayor Koijee, it also positively justifies the many advocacies led by this impeccable personality.
It can be recalled that in 2018, Mayor Koijee became the first Youth Leader in Liberia to win the prestigious Face of Trek Africa award in Nigeria which was the reflection of his many contributions to youth on the African continent.
He was honored in recognition of his exemplary leadership style, demonstration of excellence in the promotion and advocacy of African culture, talent and heritage coupled with his various empowerment gestures.
Mayor Koijee then became African Youth Role Model Personality of 2018.

About the author:
Alpha G. Gray is the Public Relations Officer/Spokesperson of the City Government of Monrovia, Republic of Liberia. He can be reached via the following:Email: or alphag.gray@yahoo.comContact(s): +231776915195/+231880040361

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Economy News Opinion

Former Finance Minister, Amara Konneh Gives Suggestions on Fixing the Economy

We’re here to help. Our comments here are directed at him (Mr. Tweah), the entire EMT and the Central Bank Governor. We hope this will be received in good faith and help them do more than just finally admit what Liberian experts have been saying for three years now.So, let’s talk solutions today. We offer six below:

1. 𝐈𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐟𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐛𝐥𝐞𝐦: 𝐆𝐎𝐋 𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬𝐧’𝐭 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐦𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐥𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐲 𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐜𝐢𝐫𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧. Here’s why this matters. The money supply, in Liberia’s unique case, is the total amount of LD and USD inside and outside banks. Our continual challenge is to ensure that the supply of money is equal to our demand for it – what they call equilibrium. When you’re at the bank and you want your LD but they’re telling you “no money,” that means the LD supply is low. This may explain why the LD/USD exchange rate has been dropping of late. When there’s too much LD circulating, the rate goes up. When money is circulating at equilibrium, we don’t have to waste time chasing it. It’s readily available, so the economy tends to accelerate because businesses have easy access to financing. If the money supply is above equilibrium, inflation kicks in. The LD loses its value and so prices go up. The opposite is true if LD is more scarce. But how can we know and control where we are, if we are not sure how much currency is actually out there?

2. 𝐃𝐫𝐨𝐩 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐟𝐢𝐱𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐱𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞. This is for GOL and the Liberian people: the FX rate is not our real problem. It is a symptom. If you have cancer and all you do is take pain killers, are you saving your problem?No need for me to elaborate on this one. My former colleague Alieu Fuad Nyei has already published a masterpiece on this subject. You can find it on his Facebook page. Alieu was one of our brightest stars at MFDP. He lives in Liberia. Boakai Jaleiba and many others who I can’t name all in here have also offered sound policy suggestions – all in good faith. It’s time we all expand the basket of voices we listen to, and fill it with real thought leaders who offer solutions, not just partisan rhetoric.

3. 𝐃𝐢𝐠𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐳𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐨𝐦𝐲 – We made major strides, up to 2017, to develop modern payment systems. By the end of UP’s second term, LRA was accepting online tax payments, and businesses were accepting payments with debit cards and mobile money. That trend has only grown, especially with the cash shortage. What has been slow is the MFDP’s digitization of public transactions including a salary payments of about LD$4.9 billion every month. In 2021, we’re still using paper checks, which are expensive to import, and a manual disbursement process. You know why we haven’t made progress? Because digital payment of salaries forces transparency. Trust me when I tell you that they nearly killed a consultant we brought in 2013 through USAID’s support to digitize the Ministry of Education’s payroll. The poor guy was so traumatized by this experience that he opted out of the contract and left the country. Now that the office of the Comptroller and Accountant General has been elevated to a department within MFDP, let’s see what they do about that. This doesn’t end with MFDP, though. Digitization requires GOL completing the expansion of the electrical grid across the country and working with LTA and GSM companies to affordably expand network and fiber optic cable coverage. We spent nearly a half of a billion dollars in restoring electricity generation to above pre-war levels and expanded it into rural Liberia for the first time through the cross-border and rural electrification programs. We also invested $25 million in landing a high-speed Internet cable on the beaches behind the BTC Barracks in Monrovia from Europe, under the Atlantic Ocean. Now, let’s expand that too. That way, rural and urban dwellers can use mobile money to transact business from anywhere. Guess what happens when you do that: nobody complains about cash anymore because they don’t need it. This is not a pipe dream. It’s already happening for those who have access to this technology on their bonanza and smart phones. Let’s make sure they work for everyone.

4. 𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐩 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐥 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭 – Mr. Samuel Tweah says the Liberian people don’t have confidence in the banking system. He’s also right about that. Historically (and globally) confidence in banks directly depends on confidence in governments. So I have to lay that wreath at the casket of GOL’s integrity. This government is heavily indebted to the commercial banks and is doing nothing to repay them. Part of that debt is owed in Treasury Bills (T-Bills) which we introduced as a first step towards developing a capital market in Liberia. You need to expand it! T-Bills are certificates government gives to banks in exchange for money. They are short term IOUs or an informal document acknowledging debt. They say “give GOL money today and we’ll pay you back in one year (or less) with interest. We started issuing T-Bills in 2012 when I was Finance Minister and consistently honored them on time. This administration has not followed suit. Thankfully, the CBL Bills (same arrangement) are repaid on time. But GOL’s poor credit record undermines the CBL’s credibility in the market for public debt instruments.Why does this matter? Because the first thing we use T- Bills and CBL Bills for is monetary policy. When we want to reduce money in circulation, we issue Bills and just hold the LD we get from the market in the vaults at CBL, for a year or less. We call it sterilization. It drives down money supply and increases the LD’s value. See #1 above.Sources tell me that the GOL has stopped issuing T-Bills, so only CBL Bills are available. Commercial banks are the biggest investors, but they also help their depositors participate. How does the CBL make it attractive? By offering competitive interest rates, higher than what banks offer for deposits. It worked for us!While public interest in these instruments is growing, most Liberians are wary of putting their cash into a system that won’t give it back when they need it. Between liquidity squeezes and GOL’s debt management problems, it’s just too risky. GOL cannot afford to keep kicking this problem down the road. It needs to expand the investor base to include ordinary people with the capacity and willingness to invest. The more Liberians trust GOL and buy its debt instruments, the more LD comes into the baking system. Then we’ll have a more accurate count of how much money we have in the system. This is why the mop-up policy and the additional LD$4 billion the CBL printed didn’t solve the problem.

5. 𝐂𝐁𝐋’𝐬 𝐓𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐮𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐩 𝐮𝐩 – The biggest causes of our economic crisis stem from fiscal policy, not monetary. Minister Tweah has undermined the relatively stable macroeconomic environment he inherited, and now excuses it away by telling perennial “since 1847” political tales to appease his boss. So, it’s only fair he’s taking most of the beating for the economic slump. But, the CBL and its Executive Governor Mr. Aloysius Tarlue need to step up too. Monetary policy works best when the public understands what the authorities are doing. In a time when financial inclusion is a global priority, CBL needs to lead the charge in promoting the Liberian people’s financial literacy. The CBL also must drive the public’s paradigm shift from a fixation on cash to a focus on digital transactions. This will help eliminate this cyclical liquidity squeeze we have every July and December, our peak economic seasons.

6. 𝐓𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐩𝐨𝐨𝐫 𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐠𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐮𝐧𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐚𝐬 𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐜 𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐮𝐞𝐬, 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐚𝐫𝐞 – The GOL and we the Liberian people need to ask ourselves this traditional Liberian question: “if house won’t sell us, who will buy us?” When I speak of buyers, I’m not just referring to the many foreign direct investment opportunities we’ve lost, in the last three years because of unnecessary noise, instability, incompetence and corruption. I’m also referring first to domestic investors and consumers who are too smart to invest in such a shaky environment. Take civil servants, for example. They’re collectively the biggest s buyers in the economy. When you cut their salaries illegally, just to make room to hire your partisans, they stop spending as much as they used to. If you cut 10% from their paycheck, they’ll spend 30% less. That means, your partisans who are petty traders and used to show up for your (CDC) political rallies at midnight after selling to the civil servants the UP Government paid regularly when you were an opposition party, earn less from what civil servants buy today. This is one of the reasons why you’re losing their support. It’s that simple!Also, when today’s opposition candidates and critics face life threatening attacks just because they criticize you, a population traumatized by war (CDCians included) gets emotionally and psychologically triggered and stops spending as much. Better, they think, to save, just in case we have to start running again. And theirs is a sophosticaed assessment of the current situation. This is precisely why some of us stood in the middle of the Liberian political theatre so we could touch everyone much to the disliking of our UP colleagues. We wanted to relax exclusion, a key driver of conflict.Today, some of those we worked with in the opposition in the interest of inclusion and a stable political economy say either they “used” us or they suspected that we wanted to “break up” their parties. Far from the truth. They consider this action a political mistake and vow not to repeat it by including others from the opposition in the governance process. The choice is theirs. Our inclusionary policy helped us to keep the peace for 12 years and therefore, a stable political economy minus Ebola, and for the first time since the tenure of Tubman (1944 – 1971), one living President peacefully transferred power to another living President in two generations, both elected by the Liberian people. That’s all that counts. Who “used” who is immaterial. Political governance is as important as economic governance.We’re not saying all this to trigger distracting and unproductive legislative hearings or to fuel public outcry. All we want is for our government to make progress for our people.So, we will pause our ‘Fact Check’ series until it becomes necessary to correct further distortions. We have series on health, education, security, CDF and SDF, and actual disbursements the Legislative and Judicial branches received between 2006 and 2019. We also have a series of financial, monetary, and external sectors and ‘doing business’ indicators for 2005 to 2020. Truth telling and commitment to transparency can only make our democracy and governance policies work for everyone.

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Economy News


2021 seems to start of good with civil servants as Min. Tweah tightens his belt to regularize the payment of civil servants’ salaries.

On today, January 4, 2021, the Minister of Finance & Development Planning, Hon. Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. instructed all spending entities to submit their payrolls on the 17th of each month to ensure that GOL’s employees are paid in time.

In a memo directed to all spending entities, Minister Tweah laid out guidelines that when followed could lead to civil servants taking home their hard earned salaries on the 25th of each month holding everything constant.

“To ensure the timely processing and disbursement of central government employees’ salaries, the ministry of finance & development planning is issuing the following directives as follow:

  • By the 1st of every month, the payroll period for the previous month should be closed, and dummy payroll for the current month should be sent to spending entities for review and administrative actions
  • By the 17th of every month, the spending entities should send in their payroll adjustments including change of account numbers, resignation, and other administrative actions
  • By the 17th of every month, the joint payroll team should complete the applicable adjustments and ensure payroll vouchers are signed by the designated officers of the spending entities before the close of business on the 18th of every month”.  The memo from Minister Tweah reads.

Minister Tweah further instructed the Comptroller and Accountant General (CAG) Mr. Janga Kowo to ensure that all checks are dispatched and deposited in their respective banks on the 20th of every month.

“By the 20th of every month, the office of the Comptroller and Accountant General (CAG) should ensure all checks are dispatched, deposited and employees’ salaries accounts are credited immediately by their respective banks”. The memo further stated.

Consistent with banks’ protocol, it takes seventy-two (72) hours to clear a check for payment. If the directives from the ministry of finance and development planning are well followed by all concerned parties, Civil servants will begin taking pay on the 25th of every month beginning February 2021.

In an attempted to discourage individuals from slacking in payroll related works, Minister Tweah threatens to submit names of noncomplying entities or individuals to the ministry of States for Presidential Affairs. The submitted list will then be published and made public accompanied by administrative actions from the angle of the Ministry of state for presidential affairs.

In conclusion, Minster Tweah encouraged all concerned parties to corporate to see to it that those working for their country should be appreciated by having their salaries in time.

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