The New Dawn (Monrovia)

15 August 2014

Liberia: U.S.$20 Million for Ebola Approved

The Legislature approved a US$20m operational budget recently submitted by the President targeted in the fight against the Ebola virus.

The budget was submitted for approval so that the government can generate the revenues for the fight against the disease. The document was earlier approved by the House of Representatives and later forwarded to the Liberian Senate for possible concurrence.

Prior to making the motion for the concurrence, Bomi County Senator Lahai Lassana opposed the decision in demand of a written report to Plenary by the Chairman of Ways, Means and Finance and Budget, Sen. Sumo Kupee, instead of verbal report for the key issues in the document to be remembered. But his recommendation was overruled by the presiding officer, Pro-tempt Milton Findley.

Sinoe County Senator Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan demanded a work plan to squarely show how the amount would be expended- an argument supported by Bong County Senator Henry Yallah, owing to the inability of the Executive to account for the US$5m spent discreetly.

He told plenary that of the US$5m raised by President Johnson-Sirleaf for the Ebola's fight, Bong County received only US$2,390.00- something he claimed, was minimum to create awareness and purchase safety gears for the local health workers.

The US$5m, earlier announced by the government, is inclusive of the US20m now needed for the continuation of the Ebola fight. Lofa County Senator George Tingbeh emphasized the need for an audit following the entire process so as to ensure accountability and transparency.

But Grand Gedeh County Senator G. Alphonso Gaye objected the argument for a work plan to accompany the request, as earlier suggested by Senator Nyepan, because the state was in the period of emergency, which squarely tells anyone that everything done within this given period of time at times did not conform to normalcy.

Apparently, being in the know that a concurrence would have been defeated, Senator Findley took votes with yeah and nail to have the document passed. Recently, the World Bank announced $200 million in emergency assistance to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea as part of an international effort to contain the outbreak.

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