CSO Reacts To Media Report

The National Civil Society Network of Liberia (NCSNL) has dismissed media attacks on Commerce and Industry Ministry, Professor Wilson K. Tarpeh by those it described as uninformed and paid agents bent on undermining the economic recovery and Pro-Poor Agenda of the government of President George Manneh Weah.

A group claiming to be a coalition of civil society organizations, on Thursday, June 13, 2019, issued a statement questioning Minister Tarpeh’s understanding of banking and economic issues since the Minister has, among other things, identified the microfinance loan scheme of former Governor Joseph Mills Jones as one of the key reasons for the depreciation of the Liberian Dollar and the current inflation rate in the Liberian economy.

The so-called coalition of civil society organizations, out of sheer ignorance and naivety, claimed that the millions of Liberian Dollars used by Governor Jones to finance his loan scheme did not come from government’s coffers.

But in a release issued Friday in Monrovia, the National Civil Society Network of Liberia defended the assertion by Minister Tarpeh, blaming the reckless infusion of Liberian Dollar banknotes by former Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, for the current inflation and the bad state of the Liberian economy.

On Saturday, June 8, 2019, Prof. Tarpeh recently blamed the CBL, under the watch of Dr. Jones, for inappropriately giving out over L$600 million in the name of microloans to marketers, an exercise which Dr. Jones and his CBL administration failed to follow up on thereby, creating huge financial losses to the Central Bank of Liberia in particular and the economy in general. Dr. Jones was nicknamed ‘poverty doctor’ by beneficiaries of his loan schemes which was hugely criticized by many economists as loose and politically driven on grounds that the exercise failed to consider the best lending and financial practices.

He also blamed Dr. Jones’ mismanagement of the CBL as some of the reasons for the difficulties in the monetary management of the economy.

NCSNL says it agrees with Professor Tarpeh’s analysis that the other factors responsible for the economic downturn are bad concessions signed by the previous government, adding that the Unity Party-led administration initiated and signed 68 concession agreements; out of which, only two met the best international standards, while the remaining 66 agreements negatively impacted the economy and thereby contributing to the current economic nightmare the country is faced with.

It referred these low-level critical to the 2014 and 2015 African Economic Outlook published by the African Development Bank (ADB); the report of the Article IV Consultation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) 2014 and 2015, and the January 2016 State of the National Address of former President Ellen, among others. The NCSN also referred these critics to the annual reports of the CBL for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Reacting to the claim that Professor Tarpeh is seeking attention in order to get the CBL Executive Governor position, the NSCN reminded these ill-informed paid agents that Professor Tarpeh ranked #1 in a vetting process comprising the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, ECOWAS, and the United States Treasury, for the Executive Governor of the CBL. Dr. Mills Jones ranked at #4 on the list of four successful applicants.

NCSNL called on those it termed as agents of the enemies of progress to bury their heads in the sand as the government of President Weah, works to clean up the mess created by Dr. Jones and his likes.

‘’Further compounding the problem, most of the beneficiaries of the loan schemes were not in the exporting business. They were importing goods from Guinea, Togo, China, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Dubai and Ivory coast; failing to know that It is difficult for a nation that is import driven to path its way to prosperity, using loose methods such as the ones implored by Dr. Jones’’, the release added.

The civil society group said it is only insincere and small minded people that would question the education and competence of Professor Wilson K. Tarpeh. Unlike their paymaster who was literally thrown out of the door by the IMF and the World Bank for dismal performance, Professor Tarpeh has a distinct record of superior output as evidenced by his sterling record of service at home and abroad.

Prominent among positions held by Professor Tarpeh, according to NCSNL, are; President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Agricultural & Cooperative Development Bank (ACDB), Executive Director of the African Development Bank Group, Minister of Finance, Executive Director of the Financial Sector Reform Secretariat, Office of the President of Liberia, etc. The NCSN also reminded them that Professor Tarpeh has been teaching for the last thirty-five years.

Professor Tarpeh also served as Dean of the Graduate School of Business, and Vice President for Fiscal Affairs & Finance, respectively, University of Liberia, where he also teaches Accounting and Finance. He served on many corporate Boards of Directors, both in the public and private sectors.

Finally, the National Civil Society Network of Liberia warned Dr. Joseph Mills Jones to be man enough to debate the issues instead of using pawns and young, uniformed children to spew trash about people who have a solid record of superior performance.

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