President George Weah has submitted his proposed series of plans for Liberians during the State of Emergency (SOE) in the country to members of the National Legislature.
In a communication to the National Legislature Tuesday April 14, 2020, President Weah proposed that for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2019/2020 National Legislature reappropriate the amount of US$25million to support the food distribution to households in designated affected counties for the period of 60 days.
The Liberian leader said the full costing to cover this period in affected and other areas may add up to around US$40.00million. He said “The World Bank has agreed to finance this gap off budget to the tune of US$10million, using resources allocated from existing projects.”
“We have full package of food support to our people pending your approval and considerations of this proposal. Prior to my declaration of the State of Emergency, the government had engaged with relevant partners to address this situation, knowing it would be difficult to achieve the aims of any pronounced Stay-At-Hone order with a concomitant support for the livelihoods of Liberians remaining at home in affected areas,” he said in his communication.
To achieve this, the Liberian Chief Executive said the government intends to have the World Food Program implement this program in collaboration with the Government. “To ensure, I am setting up a COVID-19 Food Support National Steering Committee comprising relevant Government entities and the the international development community to provide oversight over this process. This setup is in keeping with the government and all of society approach we are adopting in this stage of our management of COVID-19. The Steering Committee will have an oversight role, will prescribe rules and address challenges, while the WFP will implement the program.”
He also announced that the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) has received US$4million check representing a significant settlement of government arrears to the entity. According to him, this is one of largest single payments of government electricity bill in years.
The LEC has meanwhile submitted a COVID-19 electricity program that will be funded by the money provided.
“I propose to the Honorable Legislature that government takes up the electricity bill of households in the affected counties for the duration of the Stay-At-Home order. I propose a similar support for the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC),” he added.
President Weah is also proposing that the government fully pays loans owed by market women, petty, and small traders in affected counties as part of the requested budgetary reallocation.
Meanwhile, the Liberian Senate has constituted a committee to peruse the president’s proposal and make informed decision at regular session which will subsequently be submitted as joint resolution from the National Legislature after similar effort from the House of Representatives.
The Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate named members of the committee as Senators Peter Coleman, Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, Saah Joseph, Gbleh-bo Browne, Oscar Cooper, Steve Zargo.
Pro-Tempore Albert Chie said “the committee will gather and synchronize the views of all Senators on matters related to the issue of the coronavirus pandemic control and management and its impact on the population and liase with all stakeholders in the process, for a regular briefing of leadership and by extension, plenary.”
Senator Chie called on his colleagues to work together beyond party lines, beyond the lines of branch of government and beyond the lines of nationalities, to defeat the pandemic from the country.
After the reading, a motion was filed by Senator Gbleh-bo Browne that all senators take the document home for review and report to session on Wednesday April 15,2020 at 10am.