Agriculture Can Develop Liberia’

first_imgLiberian cocoa farmers have stressed the important role agriculture can play in the country’s development agenda if the sector is prioritized by the government and its numerous partners. The farmers noted that the sector has the potential to make Liberia one of the emerging developing countries, with massive job creation. The farmers, who just returned from a week-long knowledge acquiring field trip to Ghana, said Liberia has not acquired the high level economic transformation that it desires because it has neglected the agriculture sector.Speaking at a press conference in Monrovia upon their arrival from Ghana yesterday, a representative of the group, Erastus Borkuah, said when given the desired attention, the sector, especially cocoa production, can build Liberia as it has done in Ghana.The trip was an initiative of Wienco Liberia Limited (WLL), a leading supplier of fertilizer and other agricultural inputs which has been operating in Liberia since 2011. Though it is a business venture, the company provides farmers with essential supplies and advisory services throughout the cocoa season.The cocoa farmers became the latest group to echo this sentiment after their week-long trip to that country where they had the opportunity to be part of the Ghana Cocoa producers’ annual festival known as the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The AGM was organized by the Cocoa Abrabopa Association of Ghana and held at Asankragwa in the Western Region of that country.Mr. Borkuah said what the team saw in Ghana is very great, noting that this can also be emulated here if only the Liberian government is willing to prioritize agriculture.“What we saw in that country is unbelievable. Agriculture, especially cocoa farming is indeed the spin of the Ghanaian economy,” Mr. Borkuah said.“Even the Bible tells us that humans learn from each other just as ‘iron sharpens iron’ so our trip was indeed rewarding. We saw things that are motivating us as cocoa farmers, but the unfortunate thing is that our leaders are not willing to do the level of investments that we saw out there.“This trip was successful because we learned new things that we have come to apply here. The people told us that it is agriculture that built their country and I believe we can also do the same here.”He said that they visited some farms, many of which are very large compared to farms here, and had fruitful discussions with the farmers. They also visited the Cocoa Research Center (CRC), which he called on the Liberian government to establish here.“We need a research center where we can do some of our technical work to alleviate some of the problems we face as farmers,” he said. “Ghana has really developed and this is because of the way they have prioritized agriculture. Cocoa farmers are building mansions in that country while we sit in abject poverty here because our government has decided to blatantly ignore the potential of agriculture.”He said with the requisite financial and technical support farmers can do more in Liberia. “We want to follow our Ghanaian counterparts’ footprints,” he said.“If we can just get a quarter of the support our colleagues are getting in Ghana, we farmers in this country can develop Liberia beyond recognition.” Wienco senior agronomist, Eric Asante Antwi said the trip was the second of its kind after an initial group of farmers returned from that country a year ago.He noted that when Wienco came to Liberia in 2011 they realized that import usage was at zero level and even now with the four years experience, it is still at this level.“We need to take our farmers around after giving them the technical knowledge. We have levels of learning. Some believe that when they see it they can copy and some like to touch or feel it,” he said.Mr. Antwi said that the trip was organized to share the Ghanaian experience with some of the farmers in Liberia.“We went there and had a five day knowledge impacting experience in Ghana, especially during the AGM,” he said.Meanwhile, cocoa farmers across the country have adopted, and many more will adopt, an initiative by Wienco Liberia Limited, which promises to see a significant upsurge in their yield.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Higher Education Commission Begins Radical Reforms

first_imgThe Acting Management of the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) has begun establishing and maintaining internal controls in compliance to the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC), as well as Public Finance Management (PFM) laws and other relevant acts and regulations.Prof. David S. Dahn, Acting Director General of the NCHE, said the acquiescence intends to enable the NCHE undertake its contract awards, goods delivery, project execution, evaluation and reporting in an effective and efficient manner, as well as the preparation of documentation on procurement/projects that are free from material misstatements.In an interview with journalists on Friday, April 19, Prof. Dahn said Mr. Johnson Choloprey and team have written the policy on finance, while Mr. Emmanuel Slewion and team did the “Policy on Personnel.”“We have written the General Services Agency to help code the assets of the NCHE and communicated to the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) to set-up internal auditing,” Prof. Dahn said.The radical reforms of the NCHE followed the accusation of the General Audit Commission (GAC), stating that the NCHE didn’t establish anti-fraud internal controls to track performance of financial and administrative malpractices, which has led to deceit of over US$55k and LD$2m.According to the GAC’s report, the NCHE Management failed to maintain Fixed Assets Register/listing, to provide detailed information, including cost of asset, date of purchase and coding.“Due to the absence of fixed assets Register/listing that meets the requirement of the Public Financial Management Act, we were unable to obtain reasonable assurances as to the accuracy and completeness of the assets owned by NCHE,” the report said.The report indicated that for the period from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013, those who were questioned for the administrative and financial affairs of the Commission include  Dr. Michael P. Slawon,  Director General (August 2006 to January 2018) and Dr. Kadiker Rex Dahn, Deputy Director General (Oct 2013 to January 2018).Deputy Director for Administration Prof. Dahn (July 2008 to present), who is serving as Acting Director General, was questioned over administrative compliance, while Mrs. Esther M. Tolbert, Finance Officer ( May 2004 to present), was examined strictly on financial compliance.The GAC’s report was investigated by the Joint Committee on Public Account and Expenditure of the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate on Monday, April 16, wherein alleged indictees were in attendance.According to the GAC’s report, a copy of which is with the Daily Observer, the GAC has said it has observed during the conduct of the audit that the NCHE raised vouchers amounting to US$55,725.00 and L$2,265,045.00 respectively, without the use of Pre-numbered sequential Voucher system.During Friday’s press conference, Prof. Dahn admitted to being held liable for “administrative compliance,” arguing that he was not given the chance by former Director General Dr. Michael Slawon.He stressed that as Acting Director General since last month, he has begun establishing and maintaining internal financial and administrative controls.Prof. Dahn earned a master’s degree in Education and Regional Science. He currently teaches at the University of Liberia (UL) graduate school. Previously, he taught mathematics at the undergraduate school of the UL.Meanwhile, Prof. Dahn has appealed to the legislature for an increment in the 2018/2019 Budget.The NCHE was established by an Act of the National Legislature on March 29, 1989, to collect comprehensive data on Higher Education Institutions, establish data-banks on all tertiary institutions and to create a website for NCHE.The Act also charges the management to formulate broad-based policy guidelines for the establishment of institutions of higher education in Liberia, to serve as a principal liaison between institutions of learning from post-secondary level, to monitor, evaluate and accredit all institutions of higher education, as well as to improve new and existing programs of higher education for funding.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more