The New Dawn (Monrovia)

11 August 2014

Liberia: Give Civil Servants Two Months Pay - Sen. Doe-Sherif

Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sherif, has written plenary of the Liberian Senate on the need for government to pay civil servants currently on compulsory leave across the country, two months' salary to enable them to cater to their families in the wake of the state of emergency.

Senator Doe-Sherif whose letter was read in plenary over the weekend at the Capitol in Monrovia, stressed, "Let it be noted the most Liberians live on less than two dollars a day and also depend on everyday to use the word 'hustle' for the survivability of their families; as we're adhering to all these preventive measures, it is important to note that our people must have food to sustain themselves."

In her letter, she further recommended to the plenary that as the executive awaits the passage of the draft national budget, the government should pay civil servants two months in lieu, using one-twelfth of the budget and encouraged private institutions to do same.

"We must stand together as patriotic Liberians with a united front to fight this deadly Ebola virus and with the help of God Almighty, the lives of our people and country will be saved and let me use this medium to thank the government and the people of Liberia for their stance against the deadly Ebola virus and all the initiatives thus far," Senator Geraldine Doe-Sherif's letter noted.

A motion was raised by Senator George Tangbah of Lofa County that Senator Doe-Sherif's letter be sent to the committee on ways, means and finance and to report to the plenary in one weekend. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 in furtherance of the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease.

The President's latest pronouncement is in addition to several measures already announced here, including closure of borders as well as the formation of a National Taskforce chaired by her to contain the virus, which has killed nearly 300 persons, including doctors, nurses, and government official and ordinary citizens. The government had also announced an initial contribution of US$500 million towards the Ebola eradication campaign.

Article 86 (a) of the Constitution of Liberia empowers the President to make such declaration in the face of danger over the State.

Article 86 (a) sates: "The President may, in consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, proclaim and declare and the existence of a state of emergency in the Republic or any part thereof.

Acting pursuant thereto, the President may suspend or affect certain rights, freedoms and guarantees contained in this Constitution and exercise such other emergency powers as may be necessary and appropriate to take care of the emergency, subject, however, to the limitations contained in this Chapter."

The second paragraph of the article 86 (b) says a state of emergency may be declared only where there is a threat or outbreak of war or where there is civil unrest affecting the existence, security or well-being of the Republic amounting to a clear and present danger. President Sirleaf had described the Ebola outbreak in the country as a national health crisis that demands the attention of the government and the entire Republic.

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