The NEWS (Monrovia)

29 July 2014

Liberia: Finance Ministry Takes Measures

In the wake of the rapid spread of the deadly Ebola virus and the recent untimely death of Mr. Patrick Sawyer, Coordinator of the ECOWAS National Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, having contracted the virus, the Ministry wishes to announce the following measures to ensure public safety and instill confidence in users of services at the Ministry.

At the very highest level of the Ministry, all senior officials coming in direct or indirect contact with Mr. Sawyer have been placed on the prescribed 21 days observatory surveillance period starting July 20th, the day Mr. Sawyer departed the country for Nigeria.

All concerned senior officials have been requested to telecommute up until when certified by the Ministry of Health to return to active duty.

Further to this measure, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Amara Konneh has requested the Ministry of Health to immediately quarantine and properly sanitize both the former Ministry of Finance and the former Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs buildings including the newly constructed National Authorizing Office of the European Union.

Due to these measures, the Ministry will be temporarily shut down 12: 00 PM on Monday, July 28, 2014 and reopened on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014.

The Ministry indicated that employees, who made no contact but have been traumatized as a result of the situation in the last few days and would like to take some time off, are free to stay home until when necessary to return to duty.

However, the Ministry added that all essential employees still working at the Ministry are asked to observe the following measures strictly:

In addition to these measures, the Ministry has put in place a thorough sanitary program and admonishes all staff to use the hand washer or personalized sanitizers or disposable gloves available at the Ministry's entrance.

These measures take immediate effect as the MFDP treats this crisis seriously and will work to continue our support to ongoing national response effort. Consistent with the President's message and pledge, the MFDP, with support from our other partners, is committed to providing the full range of support required to address this situation in coming days.

Notwithstanding, the general public is advised to carry out their normal transactional businesses at the Ministry and follow closely the measures announced in the interest of public health.

Meanwhile, the MFPD tax policy unit will review, in conjunction with the Liberia Revenue Authority, a proposal for the relaxation of tariffs and duties on the importation of sanitary materials and other bleach products during the period of this situation.

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