Williams Congratulates President-elect Weah and VP-elect Howard-Taylor

Jones Nhinson Williams

New York —A well-known and productive Liberian public policy professional, Jones Nhinson Williams, congratulates Liberia’s president-elect George Manneh Weah and vice president-elect Jewel Howard Taylor for their electoral victory in the December 26, 2017, presidential runoff.

Williams said he hopes outgoing Liberia’s vice president, H.E. Joseph Nyumah Boakai, will help counsel the president-elect and that the president-elect will take the advice of the outgoing vice president from time to time. Adding, both men are patriotic Liberians and people with good hearts and intentions for Liberia.

“President-elect Weah is a very smart man who I strongly believe will do well for Liberia in terms of development and peacebuilding because he is generally a patriotic person,” Williams added.

“My only concern is the fact that almost every Liberian wants to work in the Liberian government, even those who have nothing substantial to offer and no desirable skills to match certain section of the Liberian economy.”

Williams said government jobs are about service.  But in Liberia, folks just think getting a job means working for the government.

“I will encourage President-elect George Manneh Weah to focus on reducing the size of the Liberian government and instead invest in private sector job creation, innovation, workforce development and infrastructure – mainly ensuring we have nationwide electricity and road network, etc.,” Williams said

Williams, internationally known as a prominent job creation, innovation, and workforce development policy profession, said Job creation must be the focus of the Weah administration.  Adding, “The new government must de-incentivize attraction and addiction to government jobs by paying bureaucrats fewer wages.   The wages of lawmakers and bureaucrats must be reduced.  It is a time we put Liberia first and forget about personal greed.”

Williams, who works in labor market information in the United States and who served as Maryland State Government labor market information manager during the recent global recession, said he also thinks it would be a bad idea if the new government brings in people from the old government.  “Noting, there is nothing these folks could have done that they didn’t do.  Liberia needs fresh ideas so the people from the outgoing administration must now enter the private sector with their wealth and help with creating small businesses that will put other Liberians to work.”

“Their ideas are already known, and it wouldn’t change.  Liberia needs to move forward with President-elect Weah and vice president-elect Jewel Howard Taylor,” he said.

Williams said: “We also don’t need the Ministry of Information as a country.  That function is already filled by the office of the presidential press secretary.  Besides, each Liberian government already has a communications director.   It must be dissolved. Certain government agencies now have no use.  Agencies and ministries with no use in the current knowledge-based economy must be replaced by new agencies that reflect the new knowledge-based economy.”

“The Ministry of Labor must be re-organized and restructured from its current weak and substandard status to a robust level.  What we have in Liberia is a labor union office; not a labor ministry,” he said.

Williams said ministries of Labor are the forefront agencies in advanced and developed countries because labor determines almost everything — housing, the financial market, level of access to health care and education, purchasing power, a standard of living and even national security.

“That’s why when countries like the U.S. have job losses, the president and members of Congress get terrified. In Liberia, our lawmakers don’t even know how many jobs are lost or gained every month,” he added.

He maintained that the Liberian government is too big.  Every Ministry needs to have, at least, one deputy minister and few assistant ministers. And the government needs to support Liberians interested in doing business.

He said it doesn’t make any sense to have a deputy minister for administration, an assistant minister for administration, a director of administration and human resources director all doing basically the same thing. This is just repetitive.

He said he is urging President-elect Weah and vice president-elect Howard Taylor to do away with officials who seek media attention while serving in government because it would distract them from their job and the nation.  Adding, “If someone wants media attention then he or she must resign and be a full-time politician that will be in the news headlines every day.”

Williams said: “In the outgoing Sirleaf’s administration, in as much as I disagreed with it, few government agencies such as finance, the central bank, and some autonomous agencies had more celebrities making news than really working. At the end, they failed in their duties because they were all positioning themselves for political popularity.  As such, they did not serve the administration and the Liberian people well.”

Williams who currently heads the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics programs for the State of Maryland said, “No one should be in the Weah and Howard Taylor’s administration and have their own agenda. Everyone must follow the president’s and the vice president’s agenda to make the country succeed.

Williams said the Weah administration must be able to prioritize creating not less than 100,000 shovel-ready and innovation jobs in the first one year so that young Liberians can get to work.  This, he believes, will reduce the too much idleness and politicking in the streets and at streets corners in Liberia.

He said priority must be given to small business establishment in all sectors, including leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, construction, health care and social assistance, agricultural-food production, information technology, manufacturing activities.

“These are possible if the government hires the right people, designs, implements, and monitors the right policies as well as reviews its tax laws and puts in place a robust business-friendly approach with massive international public relations to attract foreign investment while empowering local entrepreneurs.”

Adding, Liberia must not be business as usual. If true change is to come, we must be able to see it through those who lead the country and its agencies.  Adding, we are all obliged to help the Weah administration to succeed because when we allow the government to fail we allow our nation to fail.

Equally, the incoming government should realize that the time for the campaign is over.  The time for governing is here.  To govern, the administration must ensure that people are empowered to help the president-elect and the vice president-elect based on what they can do best.

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Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens is a researcher, media issues analyst and senior contributor with Globe Afrique.

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