ATJL Boss Decries Reduction in Youth 2024 Budget

By Oretha Bundoo

Montserrado County, Liberia: Mr. Jeremiah S. Swen, Founder of the Alliance for Transitional Justice – Liberia (ATJL) has frowned on the Ministry of Finance decision to decrease fundings for exclusive operation of Youth Activities under the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

According to him, the Ministry proposed allocations of US$ US$874,360.74 for all combined programs, inclusive of federations which addresses youth development, empowerment, sports, vocational education, National Cadet Program, National Youth Service for 2024 Fiscal Year. An amount aimed at empowering 75% of the nation’s population, and most fragile segment of the society is “shameful and a well calculated plot aimed at engendering the survival of Liberia”.

Mr. Swen serving as Guest Speaker on the program making the conclusion of the International Women’s Month held under the auspices of the Youth United for Sustainable Peace emphasized the disconnection between the moral action of the Government of Liberia beginning with the reductions in the proposed fiscal allocations to the Offices of President, Vice President, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Pro-Tempore contrast to the Ministry of Finance Development Planning excessive increased of her budget to 116.6%, which translate into US$172.9 Million.

He questioned the Ministry’s strategic policy that informed Ministry of Youth and Sports proposed fiscal allotment. In 2023, the Ministry of Youth and Sport received 6.4 Million, contrast to proposed 2.9 Million.

‘How can a nation that is more concern about the security of her youth and prosperity of the future allocate $4,000.00 for MVTC (technical education), $0 for National Cadet Program, US$258 for Table Tennis Federation, Amputee Federation US$3,400; Youth Women and Children Advocacy US$246.00, Liberia Scout and Guide Associations US$538.00, etc. The Minister of Finance and his deputies are the worst cancer and vultures with clear motive of destroying our Republic. Julius Iscariots” he said.

Regarding the quest to attain equality and inclusion, Mr. Swen reminded girls and young women of the unmeasurable social and economic challenges – ranging from inequality, rape, sexual and gender-based violence, stereotypes, inadequate access to quality healthcare and education; the outburst of transnational crimes and radicalization that each girl child and young lady have to confront each day.
These challenges are so huge and couple with the post-war unresolved atrocities have denied so many millions of girls and women from achieving their goals, quality lives and their full potential.

Stressing, that to curb the proliferation of drug and substances; youth vulnerability and additions need to be drastically tackle, hereby dying additional lives from being ruined by drug and substances.

To achieve this, the ATJL boss recommended the following to the Government of Liberia:

“That Schools and all public places be absolutely considered alcohol and substance free, All bars, night club, Casino, drinking spot, and video clubs in close proximity of school campuses are to be closed up to 5:00 P.M, That young people below 20 years should not be entitled to purchase alcoholic beverages. All bars, clubs, casino, hotel and drinking spots should request for Citizens ID Card, Driver License, Passport and Voter Registration identification to verify the age of a young person prior to his/her admittance in their premises, and or the purchase of beverages, and Violators shall bear the same weight of the law as considered for drug traffickers in reference to the Drug and Substance Control Act.

“Young women, I am fully aware that it is a tough request to ask you to love and be loyal to this nation when public officials are so devilish and only concern to wider inequality and poverty. But let be warn you, that the moment you stop believing and loving Liberia, it is the moment that the hope of this nation returning and even surpassing its pre-war status will become an illusion”.

In the wake of the ongoing legislative revision and approval of the draft 2024 Fiscal Budget, there have been many criticisms regarding the priority areas of the Budget.

2024 Budget will be the first, when legislated to inform citizens and development partners about GoL development priority. Youth constitute 75% of the population, likewise youth and gender issues are serious post-war challenges for Liberia ongoing reform, healing and advancing inclusive and sustainable development.

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