Ebola pushes Liberian economy downward

Minister Konneh says Ebola hit vital economic sectors hard

Minister Konneh says Ebola hit vital economic sectors hard

Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh has disclosed that the country’s economic growth rate is experiencing a downward trend due to the overwhelming impact of the Ebola virus on the country.
He said Liberia’s growth rate is subject to reduction as the projected rate at which the country’s economy was heading has been subject to lots of cuts due to a shrink in the agriculture, fishery and mining sectors.

Minister Konneh made the disclosure Thursday at a press conference in Monrovia, the country’s capital when he presented a report on the “State of the Economy, Ebola financing and accountability”.

On Liberia’s economic outlook, Konneh said the economic growth rate in 2013 was 8.7 percent and was projected to grow at the rate of 5.9 percent for 2014 as the result of the Ebola crisis which led to an economic slowdown.

He added that at the start of the health crisis in 2014, it was reduced to 2.5percent.

Konneh noted that as the health crisis worsened, Liberia’s economic growth rate further reduced to one percent, adding that it has further been revised to a negative 0.4 percent.

He said the effect of the economic slowdown was measured after consultation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to Konneh, economic activities are further expected to deteriorate in the remaining months of 2014 and likely to worsen as the country’s growth rate for 2015 is still subject to revision.

He then disclosed that the government will invest US$174 million into the economy to mitigate the effects of the collapse in economic activities as a result of the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease.
Konneh said the money will be invested mainly in activities that will quickly restore basic services currently suspended or limited as a result of the crisis noting also that the fund will also be used to provide avenues for increase in the formerly vibrant economic activities the country enjoyed prior to the Ebola outbreak.

“The government is committed to investing its meager resources to demonstrate ownership of this plan, while we also engage our development partners to support it directly through our national budget as we have already mobilized some resources to this effect,” Konneh said.

According to him, of this amount, the government will invest US$60 million in the health sector to revitalize it and provide basic health service delivery in addition to ongoing support to the eradication of Ebola.

Konneh indicated that US$30 million will go to education, US$25 million towards traditional cash transfer, US$35 million to the agriculture sector and US$10 million into domestic private sector activities.

He said another US$10 million will go to improving the Information Communication Technology sector, while the remaining US$40 million goes towards road maintenance equipment.