The brutal regime of jailed ex-president Charles Taylor registered the largest rate of economic growth than the present government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a new group has claimed.
The Liberian Institute of Public Integrity or LIPI report, which was compiled by the talkative former Auditor General John Morlu, his ex-Press Officer Ernest Maximore, Aloysius Toe, the man brought to fame by Taylor; Dan Saryee, the man noted for the issuance of the controversial Legislative report cards, and Cllr. Jerome Verdier, former chairman of the defunct TRC, among others hailed the Taylor regime as the best performer in the history of Liberia.
"President Taylor regime registered the largest growth rate in the history of Liberia, growing at 106.28% in December 1997. From 1997 when Taylor assumed power to December 2002, which was his last full year in office, Taylor's economy grew on average of 39.76%, beating all Liberian Presidents," LIPI said.
"But as was the case with all previous governments," LIPI continues, " Taylor left for Bryant an economy that was characterized by "rampant" corruption, nepotism and patronage."
Morlu, Saryee, Verdier, Toe and others said Liberia's Gross Domestic Product or GNP witnessed a very strong growth from December 1997 to December 2002 with an average of 39.76% under Taylor, who headed a dreaded regime as compared to an average of 7.16% under current President Ellen Johnson-Sireaf for the period December 2006 to December 2013.
Under a particular section in the report, Morlu, Toe, Saryee, Verdier and others concluded that looking at Liberia's historical GDP Growth, "Charles Taylor wins the GDP myth."
According to them, Taylor's regime in 1997 recorded an annual growth of 106.28 percent, 29.70% in 1998, 22.90% in 1999, 25.70% in 2000, 22.10% in 2001 and 31.89% in 2002, a year before he was forced into exile.
The group quotes economic data published by Trading Economics, which shows that "the gross domestic product (GDP) in Liberia expanded 8.80 percent in 2012 from the previous year. The Central Bank of Liberia reports GDP Annual Growth Rate in Liberia.
Historically, from 1961 until 2012, Liberia GDP Annual Growth Rate averaged 2.79 percent, reaching an all-time high of 106.28 percent in December of 1997 and a record low of -51.03 percent in December of 1990."
LIPI has reproduced Liberia's GDP data from Trading Economics for reference. See the various tables:
Tubman presented to President William R. Tolbert an economy that had an average growth rate of 4.9% in the preceding 10 years prior to the death of President Tubman, peaking in 1966 at 7.7%. The growth rate in 1966 was recorded as the highest rate in the world. Inasmuch as Tubman left for President Tolbert such an impressive gross domestic product growth, he also left an undeveloped country characterized by massive level of corruption, nepotism and patronage.
Tolbert presented to President Samuel K. Doe a growing economy, an economy that registered an average growth rate of %2.56 percent under the regime of Tolbert. Except for 1973 and 1975, Tolbert maintained positive gross domestic product growth rates.
By 1979, the last full year of Tolbert regime, although the economy was on the decline, it was positive 3.26% at year-end, down from 4.82% the previous year. As was the case of Tubman, Tolbert handed over to President Doe an economy characterized by underdevelopment caused by "rampant" corruption, nepotism and patronage.
President Samuel Doe made a serious mess of the economy, showing a negative average growth rate of 4.40%. From the first year in office until the eve of the civil war in 1989, President Samuel Doe tanked the economy, reaching an astronomical decline in gross domestic product of negative 26.70%.
But the irony is in spite of his negative economic growth, Samuel Doe was regarded as a development-oriented President, who contributed significantly to the infrastructure development of Liberia, including the construction of public roads and highways, and public buildings than any of the Liberian presidents whose economy was considered "fastest growing."
Doe did not just leave an economy characterized by "rampant" corruption, nepotism, tribalism, and patronage, he left behind an economy that had completely imploded and sunk.
Between President Samuel Doe and President Charles Taylor, Liberia had several intervening political arrangements, including an interim government and a rotating council. At December 31, 1990, Liberia recorded the worst economic performance, reaching negative growth of 51.03%. By December 31, 1996, the economy has recovered and grew at 12.12%. Essentially, President Taylor also inherited a growing economy.
President Taylor regime registered the largest growth rate in the history of Liberia, growing at 106.28% in December 1997. From 1997 when Taylor assumed power to December 2002, which was his last full year in office, Taylor's economy grew on average of 39.76%, beating all Liberian Presidents. But as was the case with all previous governments, Taylor left for Bryant an economy that was characterized by "rampant" corruption, nepotism and patronage.
Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant inherited an economy that was in a complete free fall. By 2003, the war escalated and all economic activities seemed to have not only come to a complete stop, but also were in a precipitous decline, reaching negative 31.30%. In a matter of two years, Chairman Bryant turned the economic situation around, producing an average GDP growth of 3.95%.
As history has shown, Chairman Bryant left for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf an economy that was characterized by "rampant" corruption and extreme political patronage, much of the patronage being imposed by warring factions' distribution of government institutions through the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Accra.
President Sirleaf inherited an economy that was also amongst the "fastest growing" economies in Africa, with a growth rate of 5.30%. Except for President Samuel Doe, who tanked the economy he inherited, Sirleaf has continued the growth started by Chairman Bryant. Including the projected 7.20% growth in 2013, the average growth rate under Sirleaf is 7.16%, only second to Charles Taylor's economy.
But if history and current performance are measures of future performance, then President Sirleaf is likely to leave behind a growing economy characterized by the historical problems of corruption, nepotism and political patronage. The institutionalization of corruption and the culture of impunity remain a cause for concern.