18 January Press Briefing Notes

Monday, 18th January 2010
Members of the Press:

The President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is about to conclude the Performance Review of her cabinet Ministers which has taken place over the last two weeks.
There have been a number of issues that have emerged during the exercise.
1)    Low Capacity – the lower layers of administrative structures of the various ministries lack capacity. As a result, ministers continue to take on more responsibilities to make up for the shortcomings. Low capacity, the Ministers stressed, has had a crippling effect on their output.    
2)    Lack of Systems – A key factor which gives rise to corruption at the various agencies of Government is the lack of systems that would guide the operation of various sectors.
3)    Logistics – The provision of logistics would go a long way in helping to boost Government’s efforts to decentralize its programs throughout the political sub-divisions of the country.
4)    Equity in Compensation – There is a need to integrate all special programs to ensure that compensation programs are well laid out, thereby ensuring equitability in compensation among Government workers.
Cabinet ministers were also given the opportunity to assess the President’s performance. The President has promised to look into every issue brought to her attention and will help find appropriate solutions.

•    The President has accepted the resignation of Information Minister, Dr. Laurence Bropleh, and supports his decision to clear his name by submitting to whatever process, including judicial proceedings to prove his innocence.
•    On the successful end of the 2009 – 2010 National Sports Meet, the President wants to congratulate the victorious county teams for the good sportsmanship exhibited during the competition.  The President also congratulates Grand Gedeh for being gracious in defeat, and Nimba County for their victory. The event demonstrates what can be achieved through sports.  It is the President’s hope that the spirit of good sportsmanship and tolerance demonstrated by opposing sides during the events will be extended beyond sports to other areas of our national endeavor to help move this country forward.

•    On the international scene, you may have heard of progress in the Guinean crisis. President Sirleaf traveled to Burkina Faso to add the voice of the Mano River Union to negotiations that led to the end of the political deadlock. In a protocol negotiated by ECOWAS mediator President Blasé Campoare of Burkina Faso, there would be a new civilian Prime Minister and elections would be held in six months.

•    Our Office also wants to congratulate the management and staff of the Inquirer newspaper as the paper marks its 19th anniversary this week. The paper has been a constructive partner in our rebuilding effort. We will continue to create the conditions to enable the Inquirer and all other media entities to exercise their rights to free speech and freedom of the press, as enshrined in our constitution.