5 July Press Briefing Notes

Monday, 5th July 2010
Members of the Press:
Welcome to the briefing session.
  • The President, as you may have heard, was in Sal, Cape Verde,  to attend the 38th Summit of the Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
One of the major agenda items of the Sal Summit centered on discussions for the election of a new top leadership to steer the affairs of the organization when the term of this current leadership expires in December this year.

Liberia is among a number of countries vying for a top post in the new leadership, and the President has been making a very strong case for Liberiaís election, stressing the need for equity in the process.  Liberia, the President has reminded her colleagues, is a founding member of ECOWAS, but has not held any statutory position in the organization. ECOWAS will also elect seven commissioners, the President of the ECOWAS parliament, among others.

The leadership question will be settled in December when the ECOWAS Authority meets in an extraordinary session.

While in Cape Verde, the President held informal discussions with the Presidents of Cape Verde, H.E. Pedro Pire; H.E. Amadou Toumani Toure of Mali;  H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone; and H.E. Goodluck Jonathan of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. ECOWAS President James Victor Gbeho also paid a courtesy call of the Liberian President.

  • The President wishes to express profound thanks and appreciation to all individuals and institutions that have congratulated the Government on its successful completion of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative Program.  The President reiterates that her Government will continue to exercise the fiscal discipline that has led to the achievement of this milestone.
A Debt Management Committee, comprising the Ministries of Finance, Planning and Economic Affairs, the Central Bank, and civil society, is already in place. Any new loan to be negotiated must be channeled through this committee.  An agreement has also been reached between the Government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), under which the Government can only acquire loans equal to a certain percentage of Liberiaís Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Any borrowing by Government would be through concessional loans that would target road construction, agriculture, the nationís ports, and electricity. In short, the Government would only borrow money that will open up the country to allow people to produce and create employment in the country.

Any future borrowing would be done under strict fiscal control that has been agreed between the Government and lending financial institutions.

  • An eight member U.S. Congressional Delegation arrived in the country Sunday at the start of a three-day official visit.  The delegation, headed by Congressman David Price of North Carolina, will pay a courtesy call on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Tuesday at the Foreign Ministry.
Following Tuesdayís meeting, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) threshold signing ceremony will take place at the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium.
   
  • The President takes this opportunity to congratulate the Government and people of the United States as they celebrate their 234th Independence Day. A reception to mark the occasion will take place this evening at the Monrovia City Hall.

I thank you.