President Weah giving his State of the Nation Address at the Capitol BuildingClaims inherited state of economy leaves much to be desiredQuoting extensively from Chapter II of the Liberian Constitution entitled “General Principles of National Policy,” President George Manneh Weah yesterday in his first State of the Nation address said he cannot be expected to report with authority on the expenditure and income of the Government of Liberia for the previous year, which was administered by his predecessor.The reason, he said, is that “I have been President for only one week.” He also admitted that “It is customary that the State of the Nation address gives an account of the President’s stewardship of the Government for the previous year, and then sets out his legislative agenda for the ensuing session.“Additionally, the President is expected to present the overall economic condition of the nation, which should cover both expenditure and revenue…during the transition process, certain information has been provided to us on both income and expenditure, containing balances, which we now inherit to carry forward.”The President said the total revenue collected in the calendar year 2017 amounted to US$ 489.1 million, which is a 13 percent decline over revenue collected in 2016, which was 565.1 million, and noted: “I cannot vouch for the accuracy or completeness of this information, in the absence of verification by a full and proper audit conducted by a competent authority.”President Weah blamed the lapses on “the delays in the recent electoral process, which had the effect of reducing the transition period from three months to three weeks.“Nevertheless, and in spite of the above-described situation, it is possible to inform you that the state of the economy that my administration has inherited leaves a lot to be desired. This is plain for all to see, for we are all affected by it. Our economy is broken, our government is broke, our currency is in free-fall, inflation is rising, unemployment is at an unprecedented high, and our foreign reserves are at an all-time low,” he said.Weah continued: “This is the challenge that we face. In order to overcome these constraints and reverse these trends, we, the Executive, will have to work in close collaboration with you, the Legislature, as separate but coordinate branches of Government, to find solutions to these obstacles to our progress and development.”He promised that his administration will propose and introduce appropriate legislation for “your consideration and approval that will be based on the four pillars of our platform, namely: power to the people, economy and jobs, sustaining the peace, and governance and transparency.”POWER TO THE PEOPLE“We shall focus on reviews and revision of our education system, improve health and sanitation, promote and strengthen gender equality, and provide for youth re-orientation and empowerment through training of all kinds, and the creation of jobs.”ECONOMY AND JOBS“We will introduce new legislation and policies which will be intended to achieve sustainable economic growth, develop and expand agriculture, and address our very large infrastructure deficit, with particular emphasis on road construction and the provision of affordable and adequate electricity for all our people.”SUSTAINING THE PEACE“Under this pillar, we shall examine ways to improve the judiciary system to ensure that the basic rights of all Liberians are protected. To that end, we will propose legislation that will be intended to create new processes and avenues to ensure that all our people are fully reconciled.”GOVERNANCE AND TRANSPARENCY “We will request you to draft legislation that will focus on the decentralization of institutions and systems of governance, review and build upon the current Code of Conduct in order to increase accountability of public officials, and reduce the incidence of corruption.”Weah vowed that in an effort to make Government more efficient, “we will submit to you a draft legislation to re-structure the cabinet of the Executive branch to make our ministries more effective in addressing the specific requirements of our various sectors.”President Weah said: “What I have just presented to you is a broad and general indication of our legislative program. However, and more specifically, I would like to inform you that my immediate strategy for reducing poverty, increasing youth empowerment through job creation and training, and improving the productivity of our economy, is to embark upon a comprehensive road and highway construction program that will link all county capitals with all-weather paved primary roads.”The President promised that the roads “will be built to the highest international standards, and linked to paved secondary farm-to-market roads that will enhance agriculture, trade, and tourism in Liberia. Particular priority will be given to a coastal highway that will run from Buchanan to Harper, which will eventually end the complete isolation of southeastern Liberia, a condition that has existed since the formation of this country.”On the government’s medium term projects which, he said, will take several years to complete, “It is the intention of my government to prioritize the planning and raising funding for this important development goal, which has been estimated to cost approximately three billion dollars. This is going to be very challenging, but I am convinced that, with the assistance of friendly governments and institutions, this can be achieved before the end of my tenure.”Meanwhile, Weah finally announced that, “The State of the Nation is peaceful and full of promise. We are at peace with ourselves, we are at peace with our neighbors, and we are at peace with the world. There is hope that this newly elected government will bring the change that our people deserve, and will usher in a new era of prosperity and growth.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Manchester City, Chelsea, Paris Saint Germain, Bayern Munich and Juventus have all been linked with Sanchez, but Wenger appears determined to hold onto the 28-year-old for the last year of his deal in the hope he can persuade him to stay for the long-term.Arsenal midfielders Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also in the final years of their contracts, yet when Wenger was asked if he was concerned, he made it clear he expects his players to stay committed.“When you are a player you perform until the last day of the contract. Do you really think you sit in the dressing room before a game and say ‘oh I’ve only got a year to go on my contract so I won’t play well’,” Wenger said.“If that was true we would sign everybody for 20 years. I’m not convinced the length of the contract has any impact on the performance.“I am amazed that you are surprised by that. It’s an ideal situation. Everybody has to perform.”In the past, Wenger has sold the likes of Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie to avoid losing them for free when their contracts expired.This time, Wenger is stubbornly sticking to his guns over Sanchez and, against all the evidence, the Gunners boss even claimed it was a good position for player and club to have only one year left.“In the future you will see it more and more, players going to the end of the contract. Why? Because transfers are so high even for normal players. Nobody will want to pay those fees,” he said.“Nobody knows if Sanchez will extend his contract here. What can I do about that? One day he will go and Arsenal will go on.“Of course I think he will stay. How many times do I have to tell you?”– Tough start –Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger reacts during the International Champions Cup football match between Bayern Munich and Arsenal in Shanghai July 19, 2017For the moment, Wenger has to do without Sanchez because the forward has delayed his return to training after going down with the flu.Sanchez has yet to feature in any of Arsenal’s pre-season friendlies, including Sunday’s 2-1 defeat against Sevilla in the Emirates Cup because he was resting after Confederations Cup duty.His lack of match action means he is a doubt to feature in next weekend’s Community Shield against Chelsea and possibly Arsenal’s Premier League opener against Leicester on August 11.“Sanchez is not back (in the country). He comes back on Monday night,” Wenger said.“I don’t know (if he can play in the first game of the season). We have to assess his physical state.”One player certain to miss the Community Shield is French midfielder Francis Coquelin, who limped out of Saturday’s 5-2 thrashing of Benfica with an ankle ligament injury.“He has a scan tomorrow (Monday). I don’t think he will be available for the weekend. It’s an ankle ligament, but it doesn’t look bad,” Wenger said.After making a slow start to last season, Wenger is confident Arsenal will be more prepared this time despite the absence of Coquelin and Sanchez’s delayed arrival.“I’m sure we will have done the needed work. Last season some players had a deficit in minutes played because it was after the European Championships,” he said.“We have more players ready now. We should be ready, even though we have a tough start.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Arsenal’s striker Alexis Sanchez gives his match shirt to a young fan following a win over Middlesbrough on April 17, 2017LONDON, United Kingdom, Jul 31- Arsene Wenger insists the Alexis Sanchez transfer saga won’t be a distraction to Arsenal this season despite the Chile forward’s refusal to sign a new contract.Sanchez is out of contract at the end of the forthcoming season and he has shown no signs of accepting Arsenal’s offer of a lucrative new deal as he tries to engineer a transfer to a club in the Champions League.