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GirlsForum members, Gbellakpallamu

Who Cares for the Future: National Report

Financing Gender Responsive Public Services in Liberia


The Covid-19 crisis has revealed the extent to which public services have been under-funded for a generation across Africa, with women in the poorest communities often having to take the strain and fill the gaps through unpaid care and domestic work. This crisis is however an opportunity for some fundamental changes, with governments looking for structural solutions and new ways forward, in short to build back better. Liberia is spending half as much on debt servicing as it spends on both health and education combined. This must be suspended in the short term (through to end 2021) to allow for a comprehensive response to Covid-19. Debt repayments should never be allowed to compromise the spending on public services needed to deliver on the SDGs. To rebuild public finances Liberia needs to rapidly and fairly expand its domestic tax revenue (from its very low base on 11.4% of GDP), aiming to increase by at least 5% in 5 years, which would allow a doubling of spending on most public services. Action is also needed to push back on IMF policy advice that has pressurised the government in recent years to cut public sector wage bills, undermining the capacity to employ more teachers, doctors, nurses, care workers and other essential frontline staff. By taking a combination of actions on tax, debt and austerity the government of Liberia could transform the quality of all public services and start shaping a sustainable economy that cares for both people and the planet.